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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Jul 2014

    Default AC brainstorming for DR and other alternatives.

    This is meant as a discussion and debate topic, not so much a... 'here is my system, what do you think?' topic.

    We all know about the problems and topics that come with the functionality of Armor Class...

    1.) Doesn't scale with levels (outside of unique classes).
    2.) Doesn't provide Damage Reduction.
    3.) Wearing armor makes you harder to hit being less immersion breaking.

    I'm sure there's more... Now, I'm going to be brutally honest here, I see plenty of flaws with the system as it is, but I think considering what they were trying to do when designing it, it's not that bad of a system. The problem with armor simply providing Damage Reduction is that, that's not exactly how armor actually works in most cases. There are parts of the body, sometimes large parts of the body, that are unprotected. If you're wearing a chainshirt, it won't do you much good if you're struck in the legs.

    The armor bonus effectively is meant to portray how much of you body is covered by armor that a normal strike can not penetrate (Plate armor covers 80-90% so +8 or +9, Chainshirts covers 40% so +4) at least that's how its supposed to work in theory.

    Not all armor works that way in the real world either... A suit of padded armor is not going to deflect anything away from the body, it's just going to negate some of the blow, hence DR would a fair way to depict it's effects... well, aside for the whole DR would include getting slashed in the throat problem.

    Natural armor is probably the worse offender in this regard, as the way it works now makes almost no sense.

    If you want armor to provide DR, you must allow some means for an attack to bypass Damage Reduction... since being able to negate a blade connecting where there is no armor (throat or groin region being the most universal openings) is also rather immersion breaking. If you do have DR from armor, make it so that critical hits bypass DR to represent the strike connecting with an opening in the armor.

    None of this solves the lack of scaling issue... As an experienced fighter should be more difficult to hit then an inexperienced one, after all.

    If I was to build a homebrew system for armor, I'd take a hard look at included either BaB or Reflex saves into Armor Class, so that there would be a progression in AC. Still, any such design choice would likely nerf touch attacks and have to be approached carefully.

    I also probably wouldn't totally remove an armor bonus, as the effect of armor causing a blow to glance off without really connecting is a real phenomenon. Instead I'd probably mix it up a bit so the Armor's material determined how high the DR for a piece of armor could possibly rise and so forth. According to the damaging objects rules, a +1 armor bonus is equal to a +2 to the Hardness... using that as a reference point, I can make this basic example.

    As an example... this is how I would stat the core armors.

    Padded (+0 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +8 max dex)
    Leather (+1 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +6 max dex)
    Studded Leather (+2 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +5 max dex, -1 armor check penalty)
    Chain Shirt (+0 armor, DR 8/critical hits, +4 max dex, -2 armor check penalty)

    Hide (+3 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +3 max dex, -3 armor check penalty)
    Scale Mail (+0 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +3 max dex, -4 armor check penalty)
    Chainmail (+1 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +2 max dex, -5 armor check penalty)
    Breastplate (+1 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +3 max dex, -4 armor check penalty)

    Splint mail (+2 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +0 max dex, -7 armor check penalty)
    Banded mail (+2 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +1 max dex, -6 armor check penalty)
    Half Plate (+3 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +0 max dex, -7 armor check penalty)
    Full Plate (+4 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +1 max dex, -6 armor check penalty)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: AC brainstorming for DR and other alternatives.

    If we define AC as the attackers target number to hit you and DR as the number subtracted from damage if you are hit the different types of AC can be used in different ways:

    AC: 10 + DEX (limited by Armor) + Shield Bonus + Deflection Bonus + Dodge Bonus + Luck Bonus + Size Modifier
    In situations where you are denied your DEX to AC only Deflection, Luck and Size count.

    DR: Armor Bonus + Natural Armor + Enhancement Bonus
    In situations where you are denied your DEX to AC and in case of critical hits these do not count.

    I would not give Armor any bonus to AC as Armor is not worn to avoid being hit but to avoid taking damage when hit.
    If we use your table DR can become very, very high.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    jqavins's Avatar

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    Default Re: AC brainstorming for DR and other alternatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stellar_Magic View Post
    If you want armor to provide DR, you must allow some means for an attack to bypass Damage Reduction... since being able to negate a blade connecting where there is no armor (throat or groin region being the most universal openings) is also rather immersion breaking. If you do have DR from armor, make it so that critical hits bypass DR to represent the strike connecting with an opening in the armor.

    None of this solves the lack of scaling issue... As an experienced fighter should be more difficult to hit then an inexperienced one, after all.

    If I was to build a homebrew system for armor, I'd take a hard look at included either BaB or Reflex saves into Armor Class, so that there would be a progression in AC. Still, any such design choice would likely nerf touch attacks and have to be approached carefully.

    I also probably wouldn't totally remove an armor bonus, as the effect of armor causing a blow to glance off without really connecting is a real phenomenon. Instead I'd probably mix it up a bit so the Armor's material determined how high the DR for a piece of armor could possibly rise and so forth. According to the damaging objects rules, a +1 armor bonus is equal to a +2 to the Hardness... using that as a reference point, I can make this basic example.

    As an example... this is how I would stat the core armors.

    Padded (+0 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +8 max dex)
    Leather (+1 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +6 max dex)
    Studded Leather (+2 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +5 max dex, -1 armor check penalty)
    Chain Shirt (+0 armor, DR 8/critical hits, +4 max dex, -2 armor check penalty)

    Hide (+3 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +3 max dex, -3 armor check penalty)
    Scale Mail (+0 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +3 max dex, -4 armor check penalty)
    Chainmail (+1 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +2 max dex, -5 armor check penalty)
    Breastplate (+1 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +3 max dex, -4 armor check penalty)

    Splint mail (+2 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +0 max dex, -7 armor check penalty)
    Banded mail (+2 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +1 max dex, -6 armor check penalty)
    Half Plate (+3 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +0 max dex, -7 armor check penalty)
    Full Plate (+4 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +1 max dex, -6 armor check penalty)
    I've been thinking along the same lines, and no doubt for the same reasons, to find a hybrid AC/DR system that would be easily played. I arrived at a very similar table, based on AC ~= 1/2 of original armor bonus and DR ~= 3/2 original armor bonus (i.e. split the original bonus evenly then triple the DR.)

    Using crits to bypass DR makes crits extra awesomer, and maybe too awesome, if the damage is also doubled. Perhaps eliminate the doubling, so crits bypassing DR is sufficient bonus. Against most armor, by your table, that's an extra 10 points, but it would mean the crit is nerfed against weaker armor.

    Average damage per attack is changed by this. The chance to hit is improved but the damage per hit is reduced. The net effect depends on both the average damage before DR and the overall chance to hit (the die roll needed after all bonuses are figured.) The net efffect can go either way, and it's not large in most cases, but it's not insignificant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simba View Post
    AC: 10 + DEX (limited by Armor) + Shield Bonus + Deflection Bonus + Dodge Bonus + Luck Bonus + Size Modifier
    In situations where you are denied your DEX to AC only Deflection, Luck and Size count.

    DR: Armor Bonus + Natural Armor + Enhancement Bonus
    In situations where you are denied your DEX to AC and in case of critical hits these do not count.
    First, I assuem that by DEX you mean Dex Modifier.

    Why should DR not apply in situations where the Dex mod to AC isn't allowed? You can be caught flat footed and still be saved because a blow hits you armor.

    Standard magic amor is said to give an enhancement bonus, but there should be an opportunity to assign the bonuses to either Deflection of Enhancement if the effects of the two take on this new difference. A cool new armor feature would be the ability to switch it on the fly, sort of like the Defender feature on a weapon.

    As for scaling with level, why not make something like Combat Expertise free to all, and up to one's entire BAB?
    Last edited by jqavins; 2014-08-06 at 10:58 AM.
    -- Joe
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    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Jul 2014

    Default Re: AC brainstorming for DR and other alternatives.

    Another possible way of figuring out a balance for Damage Reduction from armor would be to make it so that some armors have higher DR that can be bypassed easily, while some armors with low DR can't be as easily bypassed. After all chainmail doesn't perform that well against piercing attacks, and most of the full-plate armors were countered by the use of bludgeoning weapons during their time (mace, lucerne hammer, and so forth).

    Magical armor granting a benefit to AC makes more sense to me, as it's an enchantment... and to my mind that's akin to a deflection bonus.

    DR ?/critical hits - DR is determined as being equal to the hardness of the material the item is constructed of (2 leather or hide, 5 for wood, 10 for steel, and so forth). Armor bonus is reduced by the DR value divided by two, if this results in a negative modifier a second damage type to bypass DR must be selected and the value recalculated.

    DR ?/critical hits and one other - DR is determined as being equal to the hardness of the material the item is constructed of (2 leather or hide, 5 for wood, 10 for steel, and so forth). Armor bonus is reduced by the DR value divided by three (rounded up).

    As natural armor does not normally cause a deflection of a blow (aside for the heaviest forms of it), and generally represents a creature's hide. I'd give them DR equal to the natural armor bonus. This DR would not be ignored by critical hits.

    Using this... lets look at the core armors again...

    Padded (+0 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +8 max dex)
    Leather (+1 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +6 max dex)
    Studded Leather (+2 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +5 max dex, -1 armor check penalty)
    Chain Shirt (+0 armor, DR 10/critical hits and piercing, +4 max dex, -2 armor check penalty)

    Hide (+3 armor, DR 2/critical hits, +3 max dex, -3 armor check penalty)
    Scale Mail (+0 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +3 max dex, -4 armor check penalty)
    Chainmail (+2 armor, DR 10/critical hits and piercing, +2 max dex, -5 armor check penalty)
    Breastplate (+1 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +3 max dex, -4 armor check penalty)

    Splint mail (+2 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +0 max dex, -7 armor check penalty)
    Banded mail (+2 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +1 max dex, -6 armor check penalty)
    Half Plate (+3 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +0 max dex, -7 armor check penalty)
    Full Plate (+4 armor, DR 10/critical hits, +1 max dex, -6 armor check penalty)

    And how I'd handle some of the other armors...

    Wooden (+0 armor, DR 5/critical hits, +3 max dex, -1 armor check penalty)
    Stoneplate (+5 armor, DR 8/critical hits, +1 max dex, -6 armor check penalty)

    As for Armor Class. From a game theory point of view, the idea I have is that generally a fighter (unarmored) should have the same to hit probabilty against a fighter (unarmored) that is his level, at any level. This would roughly translate to the Base Attack Bonus granting a dodge bonus equal to the character's base attack bonus.

    This would probably nerf spellcasters who rely on touch attacks at higher levels, but at lower levels they'd still be effective. The fact that its a dodge bonus means that rogues and other ambush attack types won't be that badly nerfed by it either.

    Now... What does this mean mechanically, well not much as dodge bonuses are one of the few things that are explicitly noted as stacking in the rules.

    So your fighter in full plate will have the following ACs at each level (ignoring magical enchantments and items)

    1st level = 10 + 4 armor + 1 BaB + 1 dex = 16 AC, 12 touch, 14 flat-footed (20% hit probability vs. +1 attack)
    5th level = 10 + 4 armor + 5 BaB + 1 dex = 20 AC, 16 touch, 14 flat-footed (20% hit probability vs. +5 attack)
    10th level = 10 + 4 armor + 10 BaB + 1 dex = 25 AC, 21 touch, 14 flat-footed (20% hit probability vs. +10 attack)
    15th level = 10 + 4 armor + 15 BaB + 1 dex = 30 AC, 26 touch, 14 flat-footed (20% hit probability vs. +15 attack)
    20th level = 10 + 4 armor + 20 BaB + 1 dex = 35 AC, 31 touch, 14 flat-footed (20% hit probability vs. +20 attack)

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    jqavins's Avatar

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    Default Re: AC brainstorming for DR and other alternatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stellar_Magic View Post
    Magical armor granting a benefit to AC makes more sense to me, as it's an enchantment... and to my mind that's akin to a deflection bonus.
    Don't get too hung up on the words. Magic enhances the armor's protective qualities, where "enhance" is used in its literal and general sense. Equating "enhancement bonus" to AC improvement comes from a technical and specific meaning of "enhancement." As long as the armor has only one protective quality, i.e. increasing armor class, the only reason to differentiate "enhancement bonus" and "deflection bonus" is to allow them to stack. Now that we've given armor a second protective quality, I think it only makes sense to allow for magic to enhance (general sense) either one, providing an "enhancement bonus" to AC or to DR.
    -- Joe
    “Shared pain is diminished. Shared joy is increased.”
    -- Spider Roninson

    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

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    Default Re: AC brainstorming for DR and other alternatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stellar_Magic View Post
    1.) Doesn't scale with levels (outside of unique classes).
    2.) Doesn't provide Damage Reduction.
    3.) Wearing armor makes you harder to hit being less immersion breaking.
    The problem here is that hitting is not hitting. You don't miss when you miss, you fail to deal damage (because armor absorbed your blow). Except when it totally is completely failing to connect with the target because of reasons. Hit Points is the same. It's clearly not physical wellbeing, loss of the hundreds of HPs do nothing until that last one is gone, which immediately disables a creature. HP is sort of abstracted amalgamation of tiredness/stamina/morale/skill/determination and AC is a fusion of skill/experience/power/equipment/luck/magic.

    The vagueness of definitions is the basic design principle of system: so DM can descibe the action quickly and as he likes, instead of wasting time to clearly determine if the miss meant armor's enchantment absorbed the blow or the hit meant strong attack blocked with the shield numbed shield arm to cause lowered capacity for further defense.

    Sure, a less vague system can be designed. But would it be worth the bother? I doubt that. Just add in BAB to AC as dodge bonus in 3E and you're mostly good to go, far as I can see. AC is just "Attack Save" anyway, it's virtually identical to fort/ref/wil saves.
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