View Full Version : (3.X) Been thinking about the AC problem

2011-01-02, 12:58 AM
Namely, the fact that it's nigh useless past level 10-ish unless you pour vast amounts of money into improving it, and then it only defends against physical blows and nothing else, so it's essentially pointless because anything level-appropriate will either be able to hit you without even trying or use magic.

I started off thinking that an AC bonus based on your BAB, that stacked with whatever armor bonuses you have might make it less useless, but that's kind of hit or miss, and doesn't do anything to alleviate the problem of AC being useless vs. magic.

Then I thought about how powerful items tend to gravitate towards powerful people, and what I came up with is basically a combination of the "AC bonus based on your BAB" idea and the OA samurai's Ancestral Daisho class feature, along with some Vow of Poverty thrown in.

Basically, once you reach level 6 you're already capable of stuff beyond normal mortals, and you have a kind of power that resonates within your body and soul. A bit of this power seeps into the items very close to you, the things you use every day, and sort of bonds them to you, granting them magical properties as long as you're using them.

I wanted to get this idea written out while it was still fresh, so I haven't thought a lot about it, but the basics of it are this:
- At level 6, any one nonmagical item you possess is now treated in all respects as being a +1 item (or something of equal or lesser GP value). This is a property of the character, not the item- for anyone besides you it functions as a nonmagical item unless they attune it to themselves as well.
- Attuning an item to yourself requires a week of use. It takes time for you to really become intimately familiar with the item and for it to feel like a natural extension of yourself.
- I'm kind of at a loss for what to call this effect, but it increases as you level up. It starts at level 6 as a +1 bonus to one item, but every time you go up a level it increases by 1, so at level 7 you have two +1 bonuses to two different items (your weapon and your armor, for instance) or a +2 bonus (or the equivalent) to one item (i.e. a +1 flaming longsword.)
- You can switch this bonus to a different item (you can lose the bonus on the longsword and basically swap it out for a +2 suit of platemail, for instance.) As mentioned above though, it takes a week to attune an item to yourself, so you won't be doing this in the middle of a dungeon crawl or whatever.
- You can't apply this bonus to an item that's already magical. You can't boost that +2 shortbow to +4 because its own magical aura prevents the necessary instinctual connection needed. Alternately, you CAN apply it to already magical items, but the cost doubles- you'd have to spend 2 'levels' worth of this effect to raise the bonus by 1. You have to invest more of yourself in order to merge your aura with that of the item.

Granted this doesn't fix the AC problem explicitly, but if you wanted to you could restrict it to defensive items.

Another problem is that this benefits casters at least as much as noncasters, who are the ones who really need it, so it could be restricted to anyone who doesn't have any item creation feats.

Thoughts, ideas, criticism?

2011-01-02, 01:54 AM
Already been done.


2011-01-22, 10:37 PM
I've been thinking about this some more, especially about the "spellcasters outstripping noncasters" problem that still exists, and I think I've come up with something. It's a little bit like the artificer's reserve points.

Fighters, rogues, and barbarians are VERY HEAVILY reliant on their equipment. Paladins and rangers slightly less so, bards even less, and the remaining classes can do just fine with practically none.

So, it occurred to me that one solution is to make their spells count as equipment.

In my proposition above, at level 6 you get one... let's call them 'Soul Points,' which you can use to enchant an item, and they can be split up as you desire. But spellcasters already get magic, and they can already create magic items that don't require attuning.

So basically, wizards, clerics, etc. have these soul points pre-spent on their spells, but since fighters can't cast spells they have all their soul points that they've been collecting since level 1. Paladins, rangers, and bards also have some left over, as they're not full casters, but they have less than a fighter (and bards have fewer points than a ranger or paladin.)

So, let's increase the number of SP you have at level 6 to 1,000 (assuming you can't cast any spells- full casters would have 0 at level 6, and might gain a small amount as they level up, but they'll never approach the number a fighter has). You can use this to enchant an with magical enhancements of a GP value equal to your total SP (i.e. a +1 shield), or you can split it up among multiple items, as long as the GP cost to create them doesn't go over your maximum. Note this only applies to the enchantment cost, not the base cost of the item.

One-use or limited charge items like potions, wands, scrolls, etc. CAN NOT be created with these, but X use/day items (like eternal wands) can.


2011-01-23, 04:44 PM
Well, first, this isn't just an AC problem. It is also a HP problem. Standard attacks, unless heavily optimized, are not a threat to the average character. Consider for a moment that would could drop a twinned chained fireball onto the head of a lv.20 Commoner with some CON investment, and they should have little problem walking away from it. Despite dropping 200+ damage onto one of the weakest classes in the game, without optimization. Most dragons tend to have a bit more HP (and more CON, and better reflex) than most commoners... and most characters can't toss 80d6 around every turn, either.

So, there is the problem with HP bloat. A longsword simply isn't a thread, outside a Leap Attack Barbarian, so if you adjust AC and defenses up without reducing HP down, you'll end up with fights that take forever to grind through.

The idea of bonded weapons, or even soul points, isn't a bad one. Giving everyone, say, the equilivant of a +1 weapon, +1 armor, and +1 charm of protection every four levels (bonding or no) would work to either boost these numbers or eliminate the need to magical equipment, although boosting weapons probably wouldn't help with the AC issue any. I'm not sure it would be a boon to wizards if they didn't stack with magical equipment - a wizard basically needs magical robes or bracers for AC (assuming they bother with it), while the fighter could just buy full plate and allow the "natural" bonding bonus take over.

Or you could use soul points to distribute the bonus - although it might be better to just say "Fighters get a +1 Soul bonus to AC every four levels, Paladins get +1 Soul bonus every six, Bards get +1 Soul bonus every eight" or whatever values work best. Note that I am calling them a "Soul bonus" so that they stack with all other bonuses; it would be worthless for the Bard to rely on only a +1 enhancement bonus at 10th level, when you'll normally see +3 equipment.