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    Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    In the game I am starting I will, as I have done before, use gems (Tura gems) instead of weapon enhancements. These have a lot of advantages for the world I have (Caligo), but also the players respond well to getting a movable packet of +3 weapon to trade, switch onto different weapon types, and not be sad if a weapon gets sundered.

    However, I had this interesting idea, where I would have a bunch of different types, and each one could have a different effect depending on whether it is in armor or weapon. Mostly this has been fine, but I am definitely curious f someone takes brilliant energy and sticks it in armor.


    So what do you think brilliant energy armor would be like? The effects of inserting the gem could be as dramatic as transforming the armor into brilliant energy (which would make it much worse for most purposes I would imagine), or it could create a flickering lattice around the armor. The point is- because the weapon property is +4, this needs to be about as good as an armor enchant worth +4 as well (the 2x cost differential is accommodated for elsewhere, don't swear that one).


    Any ideas?
    Last edited by cfalcon; 2011-04-22 at 10:57 AM.

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    Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    *don't *sweat* that one, not swear. I can't edit it fully on the phone, sorry.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Well, it could probably blind opponents - enemies receive penalties to hit if they rely on sight. This also affects enemies who need to make ranged touch attacks. Brilliant energy would probably also protect from ghost touch abilities. Probably a penalty to hide though.
    Last edited by Icedaemon; 2011-04-22 at 11:04 AM.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Brilliant Energy Armor
    The entire armor becomes pure energy, changing the armor bonus to a deflection bonus and effectively removing the armor's weight and penalties from the equation. You still take penalties if you're not proficient in the armor, but, otherwise, you suffer no effects from wearing the armor aside from an increased AC (no weight, no speed reduction, no check penalties, and no maximum dexterity bonus).

    This deflection bonus stacks with your next highest source of deflection bonus.

    When wearing this armor, you may grapple and otherwise interact with incorporeal creatures and objects as though they were corporeal.

    Finally, when active, you give off light as the daylight spell. <-- This part might not be necessary, or in line with what you had in mind.
    Last edited by Djinn_in_Tonic; 2011-04-22 at 11:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    But Brilliant Energy does not interact with non-living material.

    "Attacks made with manufactured weapons, or made by creatures of the Construct or Undead types, ignore the armor's bonus to AC entirely, as they may pass right through it."

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    But Brilliant Energy does not interact with non-living material.

    "Attacks made with manufactured weapons, or made by creatures of the Construct or Undead types, ignore the armor's bonus to AC entirely, as they may pass right through it."
    This makes it very weak though.

    And Billiant Energy weapons ignore this stuff. Remember...it's magic. We don't need to use the same rules everywhere. I think my version might actually be worth +3 or +4, whereas adding your addendum makes it far, far weaker.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    I agree that that makes it very weak. Your version makes it exceptionally powerful. And completely ignores the existing fluff on Brilliant Energy. If it's not alive, it passes right through.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    I agree that that makes it very weak. Your version makes it exceptionally powerful. And completely ignores the existing fluff on Brilliant Energy. If it's not alive, it passes right through.
    What if Brilliant Energy worked like a very thin lightsaber? Most anything nonliving is cut through and melted right back together, effectively doing no damage. Organic stuff (with the exception of plastics and the like) is just cut and burned.

    An armor of this would melt anything you hit it with.

    Same mechanical effects for weapons, but completely changes what armor would do.
    Last edited by Siosilvar; 2011-04-22 at 01:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    I agree that that makes it very weak. Your version makes it exceptionally powerful. And completely ignores the existing fluff on Brilliant Energy. If it's not alive, it passes right through.
    But seeing as how your version also makes it unplayable, I'm gonna agree with Djinn in Tonic. It doesn't completely ignore the existing fluff, as it does turn the armor into something non-physical. It just makes sure the armor is actually still useful, and being that the OP requested something useful we're going to have to adjust the fluff as necessary.
    After all, it's magic. Logic has nothing to do with it.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    What you're describing is not Brilliant Energy; Brilliant Energy has very specific properties. There's a reason WotC never made it available as armor. If the OP wants to refluff Brilliant Energy, that's one thing, but until he suggests that he wants to do that, I consider Djinn in Tonic's version to be a non-solution: it's providing a neat, balanced enhancement, but it's not Brilliant Energy and therefore does not solve the OP's problem.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    What you're describing is not Brilliant Energy; Brilliant Energy has very specific properties. There's a reason WotC never made it available as armor. If the OP wants to refluff Brilliant Energy, that's one thing, but until he suggests that he wants to do that, I consider Djinn in Tonic's version to be a non-solution: it's providing a neat, balanced enhancement, but it's not Brilliant Energy and therefore does not solve the OP's problem.
    Exactly. Make it of, I don't know, Warding Energy or something, but if it interacts with non-living material, it's not Brilliant Energy.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Why not (first off) rule it that magical weapons are affected by brilliant energy armour and possibly have half the armour bonus added as circumstance bonus vs sight-based foes (due to the bright light throwing off enemies' aim)? Perhaps not quite as powerful in as many situations, but damn useful in certain events.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    An interesting reversal would be to have it steal an idea from the Blink spell. Specifically, the armor makes you flicker between being Brilliant Energy and normal. This gives you an armor bonus (or deflection bonus) against nonliving material but has no effect against natural attacks. That is not worth a +4 enhancement bonus though.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Seriously? You guys are quibbling over whether or not it should be called Brilliant Energy or Warding Energy (which, admittedly, sounds like the basis of a pretty cool magic item). Magic =/= science. Logic need not apply, especially considering we don't exactly know how in the world it functions.
    Brilliant Energy weapons ignore the non-living because it makes them better at being weapons (against most targets, anyhow), while Brilliant Energy armor doesn't because that makes it useless armor.

    I do like the idea of having it apply more against magical and natural weapons than against mundane weapons. Perhaps having it apply only against those, while mundane weapons ignore it would be a workable solution. Fluff - Brilliant Energy is composed of 'crystallized' magical energy, so it ignores the mundane and the non-living but not the magical and the living. Slightly different from the weapons, but less so. It's nigh-useless in the early stages of the game, but useful indeed in the later stages.
    Last edited by Solaris; 2011-04-22 at 03:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    I am going to work from an example.
    Example: +3 Brilliant Energy Armor Breast Plate.
    How about it makes you into brilliant energy somewhat, applying a 50% miss chance against non-natural attacks and applies damage to an attacker using natural attacks equal to the magic bonus of the armor on a succesful hit.

    using my example armor the armor would apply +8 AC(+3 magic, +5 breast plate) against natural attacks and 3 damage (the magic bonus) to the attacker on a succesful hit. against non-natural attacks it would apply a +3 armor bonus to AC but also grant a 50% (25% against magical weapons) miss chance.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solaris View Post
    Logic need not apply
    Wrong; good fantasy establishes and then abides by its own rules. They don't have to match reality, but they do have to be consistent: this is known as immersion or verisimilitude or what have you. We do know how Brilliant Energy behaves; it's spelled out for us quite explicitly. Non-living material passes right through Brilliant Energy (and Brilliant Energy through non-living material). If the armor does not have this property, it is not Brilliant Energy.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    Wrong; good fantasy establishes and then abides by its own rules. They don't have to match reality, but they do have to be consistent: this is known as immersion or verisimilitude or what have you. We do know how Brilliant Energy behaves; it's spelled out for us quite explicitly. Non-living material passes right through Brilliant Energy (and Brilliant Energy through non-living material). If the armor does not have this property, it is not Brilliant Energy.
    The problem, however, is that he wants it balanced as a +4 enchantment. As per your suggestion of "following the logic exactly," this is what we have:

    A Brilliant Energy suit of Armor provides its armor bonus against incorporeal attacks and attacks with Brilliant Energy weapons. It provides its armor bonus against no other forms of attacks. Additionally, it gives off light as a torch.

    And those two cases are still sort of pulled out of thin air.

    Definitely not worth +4 (or even -4), and so it doesn't meet the requirements that were laid out in the original post of something that is worth a +4 bonus. Sometimes consistency must bend to fit the game, and there are MANY ways to represent armor made of a semi-tangible form of energy.

    Personally, while you may not like it, I think my solution was fairly elegant and worth +4, without sacrificing to much of the flavor of a suit of energy armor. Instead of breaking the realism of the game (which magic already does in a number of ways), it merely expands on the uses of the Brilliant Energy spell, giving it a new defensive application.

    Also, let's think about it this way: perhaps Brilliant Energy passes through material because it is an anathema to actual matter. Thus, used defensively, it repels physical matter. There...I've altered the original assertion to still make sense, and now the new use makes sense as well. Mission accomplished, and consistency preserved.
    Last edited by Djinn_in_Tonic; 2011-04-22 at 04:08 PM.

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    Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Thank you all for your contributions!

    Again, note that this is a magical gem that, when placed into a weapon, makes it a brilliant energy weapon. What it does when placed into a suite of armor is the hard part. Obviously, just turning it strictly into brilliant energy is not even remotely worth the +4- hence, it must do something else- which is precisely my problem.

    Essentially, I'm looking for the magic to do something similar.

    Recall also that it does not have to turn the entire armor into brilliant energy- it could create a netting, a web, or some other effect. I would *prefer* it use brilliant energy in some fashion.

    Do note that armor made of this stuff would still work fine against natural attacks and unarmed attacks, as well as incorporeal. So perhaps the webbing or enhancement it has makes it particularly good at these kinds of attacks, or hurts people who strike it with them. The problem then becomes- to make *that* worth a +4, it becomes a Gem of Punishing Monks.


    Djinn's idea is good in that it works with the glowy force idea. The downside is that it's basically the mirrored version of brilliant energy- which, of course, can also work.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Brilliant Energy as an armor quality shouldn't be +4. There is precedent for the the same-named weapon and armor quality being different prices for both (Ghost Touch), so I think Brilliant Energy should follow that precedent and have a more realistic cost when it's armor.

    At the very least, it should defend against Brilliant Energy weapons.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Have the augment turn the armour into the equivelent of the Luminous Armour spell line? it becomes a force armour (blocks ethereal) and opponents suffer a -4 attack penalty due to the bright light (if they use vision).

    Mechanically it isn't the same but it does have the same feel.
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    Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloody Initiate View Post
    Brilliant Energy as an armor quality shouldn't be +4.
    True, but unimportant for my game. If a PC has a gem that has the appropriate magical glyph (my documents label it as "TBD Glyph 10"), then it will give a +4 appropriate bonus when shoved into armor. The question is, what should that be!

    Have the augment turn the armour into the equivelent of the Luminous Armour spell line?
    Hrm, where's that from? I'm not familiar with it.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by cfalcon View Post
    Hrm, where's that from? I'm not familiar with it.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    Wrong; good fantasy establishes and then abides by its own rules. They don't have to match reality, but they do have to be consistent: this is known as immersion or verisimilitude or what have you. We do know how Brilliant Energy behaves; it's spelled out for us quite explicitly. Non-living material passes right through Brilliant Energy (and Brilliant Energy through non-living material). If the armor does not have this property, it is not Brilliant Energy.
    Allow me to fetch from my DMG all the text I know of for the behavior of Brilliant Energy: A brilliant energy weapon has its significant portion—such as its blade, axe head, or arrowhead—transformed into light, although this does not modify the item’s weight. It always gives off light as a torch (20-foot radius). A brilliant energy weapon ignores nonliving matter. Armor bonuses to AC (including any enhancement bonuses to that armor) do not count against it because the weapon passes through armor. (Dexterity, deflection, dodge, natural armor, and other such bonuses still apply.) A brilliant energy weapon cannot harm undead, constructs, and objects. This property can only be applied to melee weapons, thrown weapons, and ammunition.
    Now, yes, if we don't bend anything it becomes useless as armor. Wonderful, your response to the OP is "It can't be done." I detest such an attitude, and wonder why you're even bothering. But you know what? This explains nothing in sufficient depth. It doesn't tell me why it ignores nonliving matter. Does it interact with life-force? Is it simply the nature of the enchantment, something chosen as part of the magic item's creation? Is it just the way it is? It's magic. I can't pick it apart, examine it as I would something that has bearing on the real world. Therefore, saying "Brilliant Energy armor ignores nonmagical weapons, but not magical weapons or natural attacks" does no more damage to the verisimilitude of the setting than saying "Brilliant Energy armor ignores non-living matter". It might if all of the sudden it changed in-game with no more explanation than DM fiat, but if that's just the way it always was then there's no damage whatsoever.

    Good fantasy comes from good storytelling. It doesn't need magic that functions just like science. Reliable, logical magic detracts from the whole point of magic and wanders into science fiction.
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Nowhere did I say it can't be done, I said that Djinn's solution involved changing what Brilliant Energy is, which is a non-solution given the OP.

    My "suggestion" was not intended to be a solution; as you've pointed out, it's not even remotely worth +4. It wasn't intended to be; it was to show the problems with Djinn's solution (I now see others, actually).

    Problems with Djinn's suggestion:
    1. Brilliant Energy explicitly ignores non-living matter. His does not.
    2. His suggestion removes the armor's weight and ACP; Brilliant Energy explicitly does not do that for weapons.
    3. His suggestion involves a Deflection bonus, making it count towards Touch AC, and therefore ward off spells. There is absolutely no indication that Brilliant Energy would be any more effective at preventing spells (which are, in general, non-living) from touching you than would normal metal armor. Thus, the bonus does not make sense.

    Djinn's suggestion is probably reasonable for a +4 bonus. It is in no way Brilliant Energy. On further analysis, in fact, it's absolutely unlike Brilliant Energy.

    If the OP wishes to refluff Brilliant Energy, then Djinn's suggestion is fine. If not, however, then it simply does not work.


    Going with the OP's suggestion of adding a Brilliant Energy lattice to the armor in question, perhaps this would be more fitting:

    "Adding the Brilliant Energy Tura Gem to an armor causes it to be encased in shining light. The wearer gains a +7 bonus to AC when attacked with the natural weapons or unarmed strike of any living creature, or any other effect that would require living material to pass through the Brilliant Energy lattice. Furthermore, he may also count any Enhancement bonuses on the armor as doubled versus such attack."

    At a minimum, you gain +8 bonus against natural weapons; they do come up quite frequently, and that is double the bonus. This seems to me to be probably about +4 in worth. A bit boring, perhaps, but it is Brilliant Energy and it does seem to be balanced. Balance can easily be tweaked by changing the +7, as well.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    Nowhere did I say it can't be done, I said that Djinn's solution involved changing what Brilliant Energy is, which is a non-solution given the OP.

    Problems with Djinn's suggestion:
    1. Brilliant Energy explicitly ignores non-living matter. His does not.
    2. His suggestion removes the armor's weight and ACP; Brilliant Energy explicitly does not do that for weapons.
    3. His suggestion involves a Deflection bonus, making it count towards Touch AC, and therefore ward off spells. There is absolutely no indication that Brilliant Energy would be any more effective at preventing spells (which are, in general, non-living) from touching you than would normal metal armor. Thus, the bonus does not make sense.

    Djinn's suggestion is probably reasonable for a +4 bonus. It is in no way Brilliant Energy. On further analysis, in fact, it's absolutely unlike Brilliant Energy.
    His suggestion doesn't change the nature of Brilliant Energy. It adapts Brilliant Energy to be applied to armor.

    The RAW says "A brilliant energy weapon ignores non-living matter."

    Brilliant Energy armor might very well have the opposite effect, in addition to protecting against Brilliant Energy weapons.

    A deflection bonus doesn't seem that outrageous really, it's a very good bonus to have. In fact, you might be able to slap some miss chance on there for good measure. Maybe then it would be worth +4.

    If the OP wishes to refluff Brilliant Energy, then Djinn's suggestion is fine. If not, however, then it simply does not work.
    Seeing as he is operating in his own custom setting, that doesn't seem like a very big deal.

    I really like the gem idea though, I might start using it myself.
    Last edited by Popertop; 2011-04-23 at 12:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarian View Post
    Book of Exalted Deeds.
    And its re-printed somewhere else as well (if only I could find it), without the stat sacrifice as a cleric spell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Book of Exalted deeds
    this spell wraps the target in a protective shimmering aura of light. The Luminous Armour resembeles a suit of dazzling full plate but it is weightless and does not restrict the targets movement or mobility in any way.
    In addition to granting the AC benefit of a breastplate (normal version, L2 spell) or Fullplate (Greater version, L4 spell) the luminous armour has no maximum dexterity restriction, no armour check penalty and no chance for arcane spell failure.
    Luminous Armour sheds light equal to a daylight spell and counters darkness spells of 2nd level or lower with which it comes into contact. In addition the armours brightness causes opponents to take a -4 penalty on mellee attacks made against the target. This penalty stacks with the attack penalty suffered by creatures sensative to bright light (such as dark elves).
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Alternatively:
    DMG suggests that Brilliant energy is a mixture of Gaseous form and continual flame at CL16. give the armour a appearance similar to that suggested before: glows at about torchlike brightness and the ability to cast gaseous form at will (or 3/day if at will is considered too powerful).
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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Popertop View Post
    Seeing as he is operating in his own custom setting, that doesn't seem like a very big deal.
    There is no issue — except that isn't what the OP asked for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Popertop View Post
    I really like the gem idea though, I might start using it myself.
    I agree here; Magic Item Compendium had a few minor ones, but using them for all magic weapon and armor is a cool idea.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Veyr View Post
    There is no issue — except that isn't what the OP asked for.
    I'm not sure it isn't. You're arguing semantics: here's a way out. Explain to me exactly what a Brilliant Energy weapon is and how and why it works the way it does, and then I'll accept that the "brilliant energy" is a perfectly defined mechanic that we can't deviate from for the purposes of (in my mind) better gameplay and more interesting mechanics.

    If we don't have a RAW definition of exactly what Brilliant Energy as a concept is, rather than Brilliant Energy in one specific execution, I see no compelling reason why we can't expand on the concept to give the OP a functional and interesting alternate effect.

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    Default Re: Help me make Brilliant Energy... Armor?

    Quote Originally Posted by cfalcon View Post
    So what do you think brilliant energy armor would be like? The effects of inserting the gem could be as dramatic as transforming the armor into brilliant energy (which would make it much worse for most purposes I would imagine), or it could create a flickering lattice around the armor. The point is- because the weapon property is +4, this needs to be about as good as an armor enchant worth +4 as well (the 2x cost differential is accommodated for elsewhere, don't swear that one).


    Any ideas?
    Djinn answered to OP's questions quite adequately. He gave a +4-equivalent enchantment that matches what he thinks brilliant energy armor would do.

    EDIT: Here's mine, if you like:

    Brilliant Energy Armor
    Brilliant energy armor adds only its enhancement bonus to AC against normal attacks. However, its full AC bonus applies against touch attacks and natural attacks.

    Brilliant energy armor always gives off light as a torch; as a standard action, the wearer may focus the light and blind one target for 1d4+1 rounds (Fortitude DC 14 + enhancement bonus). Even if the target succeeds on the saving throw, they still are dazzled for the same duration.[hr]I'm not sure if it's quite worth +4, but it's decent enough.

    EDIT2: Throw in this line from Djinn's:
    When wearing this armor, you may grapple and otherwise interact with incorporeal creatures and objects as though they were corporeal.

    and maybe the "no penalties" as well.
    Last edited by Siosilvar; 2011-04-23 at 02:44 PM.
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