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Deepbluediver
2011-12-27, 02:42 PM
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

Recently Iíve 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 Iíve 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 wonít even get in to what happens when we include extra sourcebooks for all the wacky stat-stacking they provide.

Since I donít 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 ďrealismĒ in which peopleís (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 doesnít 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 donít seem that bad, since most of what they apply to (jumping, swimming) seems more related to the potential weight of armor than a personís 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 wonít 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 wouldnít have to worry about it during character creation or the first few levels, and it would let heavy-armor wearersí use ranged weapons without shooting themselves in the foot every third shot.

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

List of Changes

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
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
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).
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]

Seerow
2011-12-27, 02:54 PM
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.

eftexar
2011-12-27, 04:48 PM
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.

Spiryt
2011-12-27, 04:54 PM
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.

Yitzi
2011-12-27, 07:03 PM
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.

bobthe6th
2011-12-27, 07:14 PM
Sugested fix: make it a function of carry weight. Then boost the weight of armor.

Roxxy
2011-12-27, 07:14 PM
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

Deepbluediver
2011-12-27, 07:31 PM
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.


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.



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.

Mulletmanalive
2011-12-27, 08:01 PM
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?

Seerow
2011-12-27, 08:02 PM
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)

Deepbluediver
2011-12-27, 08:37 PM
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.


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.

Seerow
2011-12-27, 08:44 PM
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.

eftexar
2011-12-27, 09:00 PM
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:
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.OR
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.

Deepbluediver
2011-12-27, 09:22 PM
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?

eftexar
2011-12-27, 09:31 PM
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).

Mando Knight
2011-12-27, 09:36 PM
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.

Lert, A.
2011-12-27, 09:43 PM
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.

TuggyNE
2011-12-28, 07:40 AM
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).


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?

ZerglingOne
2011-12-28, 08:19 AM
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.

Lert, A.
2011-12-28, 09:31 AM
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.

Glimbur
2011-12-28, 10:44 AM
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.

Eldan
2011-12-28, 10:55 AM
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.

Lert, A.
2011-12-28, 01:45 PM
...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.

eftexar
2011-12-28, 05:53 PM
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).

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

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).

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?

Viktyr Gehrig
2011-12-28, 06:23 PM
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.

eftexar
2011-12-28, 06:28 PM
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.

Sypher667
2011-12-28, 06:37 PM
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.

RedWarlock
2011-12-28, 07:10 PM
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.)

jaybird
2011-12-28, 08:19 PM
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?

eftexar
2011-12-28, 08:24 PM
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?

Viktyr Gehrig
2011-12-28, 08:54 PM
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.

Yeah. That's your ACP to skills, which I entirely support-- I've seen men doing cartwheels in half plate, and even then you can tell that the armor is slowing them down. They're certainly not stealthy, and the penalty to swimming is absolutely entirely justified. (Except for leather and wooden armors.)

The problem with the rules as written is that the "higher level of protection" ultimately results in less protection, which doesn't make sense from either a rules standpoint or a realism standpoint. If you are proficient in the use of armor, then the armor should never limit your capacity to defend yourself.


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.)

You could do that, but that's simply applying another layer of complexity on a rule that is not in the least fashion necessary. The Armor Check Penalty and limited class features of "agile" characters are more than sufficient.


Possibly Con to DR?

Str to AC in melee would be better.

Deepbluediver
2011-12-28, 09:00 PM
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.

You bring up a good point; I had not thought through the implications of armor crafted from special materials or with enhancement bonuses. However, even with that factored in, will it be enough? A player could reasonably be expected to afford a set of regular Adamantine Full Plate by level 8, at which your AC is still the same as regular full plate and you get your ACP at one less, and have DR 3/-. This still with 12 levels of play to go.

Also, I'm pretty sure there's a note that specifically limits bonuses to a maximum of +5, unless I'm misunderstanding something.

So maybe I can adjust some of the modifications on my tabel back down a bit, so they aren't game breaking at lower levels. I would still question if the Max-Dex limit for armor needs to be as restrictive as it is, and if we can't apply some small amount of DR to regular armor as well.


Also, some of the proposals people have made look like they would do the job very well, but I worry about making something overly complicated. Generally if I read something twice and still can't say I understand it perfectly, it's probably to complicated. This fix was originally an attempt to change just armor, not other class features.

Yitzi
2011-12-29, 12:38 AM
The problem with the rules as written is that the "higher level of protection" ultimately results in less protection, which doesn't make sense from either a rules standpoint or a realism standpoint. If you are proficient in the use of armor, then the armor should never limit your capacity to defend yourself.

Even if your defense is based primarily on the mobility which you just said is impeded by armor?

Deepbluediver
2011-12-29, 12:56 AM
Even if your defense is based primarily on the mobility which you just said is impeded by armor?

I'd love to be able to just convert the max-dex stat into a straight Dex penalty, so that increasing your Dexterity will directly scale with AC, which is what I think it was originally intended.

Unfortunately, I feel like this would really screw some classes, especially at lower levels, and we end up needing to increase the AC bonus of armor even further to overcome the AC loss from Dex penalties.
One thing I've thought about is a Dex penalty that can't reduce your Dex bonus below +0. That way low-Dex based players won't suffer, per se, from wearing heavy armor, but if you stack you Dex high enough, you can eventually overcome the penalty, and the players mobility once again increases AC. But that starts to get very complicated, so I've tried steering away from that for now.
ALTERNATIVELY alternatively, maybe we have a Dex penalty that only applies to certain variable, like skill checks but not saves. But again, this starts getting more complicated than I had originally hoped for.

Viktyr Gehrig
2011-12-29, 02:31 AM
Even if your defense is based primarily on the mobility which you just said is impeded by armor?

Wouldn't that be the case for Monks who would lose their class-based AC bonus while wearing armor-- and for which I've already said this is acceptable?

eftexar
2011-12-29, 09:20 AM
I don't think your idea, Deepbluediver, is at all complicated. Especially if you compare it to some of my ideas.
If your looking for a simple fix that works, that's probably the simplest you're going to manage.

Glimbur
2011-12-29, 09:52 AM
[QUOTE=Deepbluediver;12443577
ALTERNATIVELY alternatively, maybe we have a Dex penalty that only applies to certain variable, like skill checks but not saves. But again, this starts getting more complicated than I had originally hoped for.[/QUOTE]

Armor Check Penalty. It applies to some skills, not all Dex based skills (the exception I can find is Open Lock) and it also applies to various movement based Str skills (Climb, Swim, Jump). As a further bonus, it's already in the rules so you don't have to change a thing.

Your concern is that incredibly dexterous people are better off not in armor. More specifically, a master rogue with 300 Dex in full plate and a first level fighter with 12 Dex in full plate have the same AC. I would view this as a failure to equip properly; things like mithral and lighter armors exist for a reason. Our 300 dex character is better off in no armor at all (or obscure stuff like Gnome Twistcloth) because even leather incredibly reduces his mobility.

You could rely on armor proficiencies to keep people out of armor they shouldn't thematically wear and just ignore Max Dex Bonus. If you keep the move speed reduction, armor check penalty, and class feature restrictions (evasion, monk AC, etc) then you shouldn't see many rogues in full plate.

Deepbluediver
2011-12-29, 10:09 AM
I don't think your idea, Deepbluediver, is at all complicated. Especially if you compare it to some of my ideas.
If your looking for a simple fix that works, that's probably the simplest you're going to manage.
I'm sure that different people have different definitions of complex, but I was trying to keep this fix to just changing armor, not game mechanics. Maybe balancing armor isn't possible with just altering that one table; figuring that out could be considered one of the goals of this thread.


Armor Check Penalty. It applies to some skills, not all Dex based skills (the exception I can find is Open Lock) and it also applies to various movement based Str skills (Climb, Swim, Jump). As a further bonus, it's already in the rules so you don't have to change a thing.

Your concern is that incredibly dexterous people are better off not in armor. More specifically, a master rogue with 300 Dex in full plate and a first level fighter with 12 Dex in full plate have the same AC. I would view this as a failure to equip properly; things like mithral and lighter armors exist for a reason. Our 300 dex character is better off in no armor at all (or obscure stuff like Gnome Twistcloth) because even leather incredibly reduces his mobility.

You could rely on armor proficiencies to keep people out of armor they shouldn't thematically wear and just ignore Max Dex Bonus. If you keep the move speed reduction, armor check penalty, and class feature restrictions (evasion, monk AC, etc) then you shouldn't see many rogues in full plate.
My concern with removing the max-dex limit entirely (for medium and heavy armors) is then you need to start weighing armor bonuses against class abilities. One class skill (like evasion) might be worth the trade off, but if you have a bunch of class skills (like the monk) it probably wouldn't be. Maybe its less of an issue than I'm making it out to be, but it's something I would have to take into account, I think.

I've added in tables showing the stats of Mithral and Adamantine armors using my buffs to base-armor and Masterwork quality stuff, and I'm feeling better about how armor can play out at highers levels with my adjustments and enhancement bonuses.
My concern wasn't that there shouldn't be ANY limitation, because I don't want warriors stacking Dex to become absolutely untouchable, but that the limitations as written where overly restrictive.

Spiryt
2011-12-29, 10:20 AM
.

Your concern is that incredibly dexterous people are better off not in armor. More specifically, a master rogue with 300 Dex in full plate and a first level fighter with 12 Dex in full plate have the same AC. I would view this as a failure to equip properly; things like mithral and lighter armors exist for a reason. Our 300 dex character is better off in no armor at all (or obscure stuff like Gnome Twistcloth) because even leather incredibly reduces his mobility.

Well, the problem is that, no matter if one looks at this to be more "awesome", "gritty", "realistic" "cool" or whatever, this doesn't make sense.

From any point of view.

40 pounds of steel cloth on you reduces one ease of movement, but still there's no reason at all for immense reflex, agility, reaction and precision to disappear suddenly.



You could rely on armor proficiencies to keep people out of armor they shouldn't thematically wear and just ignore Max Dex Bonus. If you keep the move speed reduction, armor check penalty, and class feature restrictions (evasion, monk AC, etc) then you shouldn't see many rogues in full plate.

This is pretty good idea - someone can always find a way to do for Rogue in full plate, but as long as it screws many precision stuff he should excel at - from opening locks to scouting it shouldn't be very good choice.

Yitzi
2011-12-29, 03:49 PM
I'd love to be able to just convert the max-dex stat into a straight Dex penalty, so that increasing your Dexterity will directly scale with AC, which is what I think it was originally intended.

The problem with that is that then at lower DEX you gain no benefit for increasing your DEX. (Unless the penalty can even take it into the negatives, in which case there's no reason for higher-DEX individuals to wear lighter armor other than ACP).

Two ideas that can work (in both cases, applying it only to AC; other purposes of DEX are affected only through ACP) are:
1. Use either the max-dex method or the dex-penalty method, whichever one gives the character a higher effective DEX modifier. That way, there is still a range where DEX doesn't matter, but it's neither at the very-low area nor the very-high-up-to-infinity area.

2. Make a DEX penalty not as a fixed penalty, but as the ability to apply only a certain percentage of your DEX modifier to AC. So it might be that someone in heavy armor gets only 1 AC for every 5 points of DEX bonus, someone in medium armor gets only 3 AC for every 4 points of DEX bonus, rounded up (i.e. their penalty is 1/4 their DEX bonus, rounded down), and someone in light armor gets 1 AC for every point of DEX bonus.


Wouldn't that be the case for Monks who would lose their class-based AC bonus while wearing armor-- and for which I've already said this is acceptable?

So why is this different?

Viktyr Gehrig
2011-12-29, 06:17 PM
So why is this different?

Because that's an exception to a general rule based on specific class powers, and not the general rule itself which is supposed to model a fictional reality. The vast majority of the ruleset is dedicated to portraying a heroic reality to which realistic physics does not apply-- like swimming in plate mail-- but then the rules contain arbitrary restrictions like this, in the name of "realism", that model neither the game's intended heroic reality nor a reality that is more grounded in real-world physics.

It is a rule that is neither beneficial nor necessary, another instance of increased complexity and change for change's sake that adds nothing to the game.

Yitzi
2011-12-30, 08:08 AM
Because that's an exception to a general rule based on specific class powers, and not the general rule itself which is supposed to model a fictional reality.

The class specific powers are also meant to model a fictional reality.


The vast majority of the ruleset is dedicated to portraying a heroic reality to which realistic physics does not apply-- like swimming in plate mail

Why do realistic physics preclude someone being so good that they can swim in plate mail?

Viktyr Gehrig
2011-12-30, 03:28 PM
Why do realistic physics preclude someone being so good that they can swim in plate mail?

Are you seriously asking me why swimming in plate mail is less realistic than being able to defend yourself in plate mail?

ZerglingOne
2011-12-30, 09:32 PM
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.

I don't see how he wouldn't be able to stand against the balor, with 20d10 + 20 x con mod you can easily survive 3-4 hit attacks on average per round with your team supporting with spells and attacks of their own. On the subject of dragons and specifically The Tarrasque. The fact that one is unique and the other is supposed to be particularly rare should easily put them on the hard side of their CR. Both are chock full of abilities to swing fights in their favor. It's just like how in MMORPG's there are different classifications of enemies. Tarrasque and ABD are examples of elite or boss monsters, while they're labeled CR 19-20, it's going to take a well equipped, well balanced team of high level characters with a strategy in mind to take them down most of the time.

Edit: ON TOPIC PORTION. Keep max dex bonus, but make it function as more of a diminishing return. As in, half as effective if you exceed your max dex bonus. Fighter with 18 dex +4 mod, is in plate armor, MDB +1, add +1. Then the remaining +3 is cut in half to yield an extra +1. This way, there is no statistical reason you should ever wear light armor over heavy armor for straight combat reasons. It would also make straight non-magical plate armor = no armor at a staggering 44 dexterity. The math: 44 dex = +17 bonus, 8 + 1 + 16/2 = +17

Also, regarding the "+5" limit, that's not true, it just requires that an item be labeled an artifact instead of a magic item.

Viktyr Gehrig
2011-12-31, 12:48 AM
Edit: ON TOPIC PORTION. Keep max dex bonus, but make it function as more of a diminishing return. As in, half as effective if you exceed your max dex bonus.

I'm willing to accept that as a compromise solution, because at the level where 44 Dexterity enters play armor really should be more of a personal style thing than a combat thing. Little more complicated, though.

Yitzi
2012-01-01, 08:32 AM
Are you seriously asking me why swimming in plate mail is less realistic than being able to defend yourself in plate mail?

No; I'm asking why being good enough to swim in plate mail (with doing so in calm water being harder than swimming in stormy water in no armor) is less realistic than being able to dodge in plate mail as well as you would with no armor.

Deepbluediver
2012-01-01, 09:26 AM
No; I'm asking why being good enough to swim in plate mail (with doing so in calm water being harder than swimming in stormy water in no armor) is less realistic than being able to dodge in plate mail as well as you would with no armor.

Armor is designed with land-based dodging and movement in mind. Most armor wasn't designed with the intent that it's wearer would regularly be jumping into large bodies of water.
That's why I pretty much left the ACP as it was for normal armor; maybe it can apply to a few less skill checks, but swimming, IMO, shouldn't be one of them. As I said before, I think that any clothing at all should provide a penalty for swimming, with the armor ACP just adding to it.

Also, very few players that I've seen actually put RANKS into the swimming skill, because it tends to be less frequently useful and rarely combat-related.
That may or may not represent reality during the time and place when people where wearing armor, since swimming was frequently a cultural thing. At various times and places, it was either A) healthy and something everyone should do when they had the chance, B) a fun pastime that not everyone could afford, or C) a sign that you where a Wich, and needed to be burned at the stake. Obviously, the prevailing cultural identity would probably influence your swimming ability.

Many of the stories of people drowning in armor may have been because they didn't know how to swim in the first place. If you character thinks he or she will need to go swimming while armored, you should be maxing out your swim skill, and investing in a set of Mithral Armor, with it's reduced ACP.

Yitzi
2012-01-01, 03:18 PM
Armor is designed with land-based dodging and movement in mind.

Yes, basic land-based dodging, such as the average person is capable of, and even a bit better.

That is perfectly possible in full plate.


Also, very few players that I've seen actually put RANKS into the swimming skill, because it tends to be less frequently useful and rarely combat-related.

That's a separate point, whether to combine it with others similar to what Pathfinder does with some skills (don't remember if that's one of them). Also, combat isn't everything.

ZerglingOne
2012-01-01, 07:15 PM
I'm willing to accept that as a compromise solution, because at the level where 44 Dexterity enters play armor really should be more of a personal style thing than a combat thing. Little more complicated, though.

But see. I said that was just non-magical standard steel plate armor I would say it's easier with this system to increase the +1's of the armor up to +5 than it is to get 10 more points of dexterity. Add in mithral or adamantine armor and maybe some other protective enchantments and the only reasons to not wear armor become skill checks, arcane spellcasting, proficiency restrictions, and ability restrictions like evasion. In other words, the reasons rogues, rangers, sorcs, wizards, bards and monks shouldn't wear heavier armor in the first place.

ZerglingOne
2012-01-01, 10:29 PM
Odd, it doesn't appear my post bumped the thread.

Deepbluediver
2012-01-09, 09:55 PM
Hey everyone! I bet you thought I had let this drop. Well you'd be WRONG!
I had a 6 hour plain ride over New Years to roll this around in my head, and while it's gotten quite a bit more involved than I had originally anticipated, I discovered you can't just fix basic armor without figuring out how that's gonna impact everything above it.

After some heavy thinking (and a nap) I decided that in terms of both gameplay mechanics and psuedo-realism I liked the idea of a basic armor limit, and then diminishing returns above that. As I started trying to work out a system, however, it rapidly evolved into a horrendous mess. When it becomes easier to describe your AC in terms of a mathematical formula, and you have a dozen different versions AND YOUR NOT EVEN GETTING INTO MITHRAL YET!!!! you have officially crossed the "to-f***ing-complicated" barrier.
On a lighter note, with the exception of DR, the basic armor table was almost back to where it started. Yay for circuitous logic!

I scrapped it all and after a short nap to recharge my batteries I decided to alter my plan of attack. In order to put myself in a better frame of mind, I trawled a few of my favorite pages, and eventually I was struck with inspiration from Seerow's wonderful Arms and Armor (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202722) system, which is wonderful but makes my brain shrivel up and cry if I spend to long reading it.

I decided that rather than having just one level of upgrade (Masterwork), I could make several, and do something else with the old +1 enchancement system.

It took a few days, the occasional nap, and quite a lot of rather inventinve cursing, but I am happy to say that I now believe boring armor has become sexy-SEXY armor!

Deepbluediver
2012-01-10, 03:36 PM
I've added in stats for shields, as well as rules and a table for enhancement bonuses.

At this point I've included just about everything I think I need to, so unless some one has a request I probably won't be updating anything else.

If I come back later and add in more tables for other special materials (like maybe a whole set of Ironwood armor for druids) I won't bump the thread just for that.

Thank you all for much for your help!