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    Default Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    This idea is motivated by three factors. The first is that, while I believe AC is already useful in many situations, it is not as optimal as I think it should be. The second is that the idea of a "miss chance" separate from simply missing an attack roll is unnecessarily confusing, and introduces needless complexity when explaining. The third is that miss chances require an additional die roll in all cases, which is also needlessly complex.

    This fix eliminates much of the complexity in concealment-based miss chances (the most common type) by folding them into AC in all cases, as a concealment bonus, which does not stack with other concealment bonuses, but is applied to touch and flat-footed AC. A wizard with AC 12 at level 15 will derive very little advantage from even displacement, and the somewhat rarer case of a gish pumping AC into the high 90s at 19 will also have trouble making use of concealment to still further reduce number of successful attacks.

    Exception: a critical confirmation roll ignores any concealment bonuses, as it ignores percentage miss chances.

    Examples
    • Blur, a 20% concealment miss chance, becomes a +2 concealment bonus to AC.
    • Displacement, a 50% miss chance, becomes a +5 concealment bonus.
    • Mirror image, up to an 88.9% miss chance, is a more complex case; as I see it, it is just as much a misdirection spell as a concealment, so if the attacker closes his eyes, treat as concealment (+5 bonus); otherwise, use the miss chance calculation as written (up to 88.9% miss chance).
    • A blind attacker (at 50%), or one averting his eyes from a gaze attack (20%) gives the target a +5 or +2 concealment bonus respectively. This has the interesting side effect that a sufficiently skilled warrior can still hit, say, a stock Medusa essentially every time (since attack bonus has outpaced AC already by a large margin).
    • Effective hiding, or invisibility (including invisibility) gives a +5 concealment bonus.
    • Other mundane sources of concealment, such as shadows, give the usual +2 concealment bonus; any adjustments to the miss chance can be converted to the numeric bonus, at a rate of 10% => +1.
    • The blink and greater blink spells give a +2 concealment bonus, as well as a 20% miss chance from being on another plane (this miss chance is not removed).
    • The Blind-Fight feat halves concealment bonuses against enemies in melee, rather than allowing a re-roll; it is now partially effective against (greater) blink.
    • Any effect or ability that allows you to ignore concealment (darkvision against mundane shadow, true seeing against displacement, and so forth) removes the concealment bonuses.
    • The presence of a concealment bonus on a target prevents sneak attack from functioning.


    Final notes
    All the examples I have been able to think of either give very similar behavior, improve the results, or at worst are indifferent; some might dislike the ability of a level 20 closing their eyes to auto-hit a CR 7 monster, but I see nothing wrong with that. Any counter-examples, however, glitches in this system, or mentions of confusing wording, are welcomed. And, of course, I am aware that the designers of the system almost certainly intended miss chance percentiles as a distinction for concealment; I simply disagree with their presumed intent and wish to simplify the system slightly, which is why I suggest this houserule.
    Last edited by TuggyNE; 2012-05-15 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Noting exception for crit confirmations
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    lets see...
    Consealment is in plain words a 100%die roll to miss an attack.
    that roll comes before hit roll...
    lets say your PC tries to hit a 20% concealed creature...
    by rule you roll miss chance and then hit... so..
    miss chance: Succesfull hit
    Hit roll: N20
    Critical!(auto success)
    by your rule...
    Hit Roll: N20
    Critical!(auto success)

    but...
    if that miss chance was a failed one??


    why deny that extra chance of survivalability to your players? or you npcs?

    my point is... flat AC < Miss chance
    especially at higher levels that concealment is at most times better deffence that flat AC

    think about it
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by hxolhpths View Post
    my point is... flat AC < Miss chance
    especially at higher levels that concealment is at most times better deffence that flat AC

    think about it
    Consider who uses Blur and Mirror Image the most; wizards, on themselves, because it can render an incoming sword swing a miss without regard to their attack bonus. A level 30 fighter is just as helpless as a level 1 commoner if the coin flip doesn't come up right. Casters don't need the extra method of invalidating everyone around them.
    Last edited by Heatwizard; 2012-05-12 at 05:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    heck, I'd be for it. If you have +10 AC from displacement, +4 mage armor, +4 shield, +2 Cat's Grace, plus whatever you get for nat armor, you've made it so the warrior type won't hit you reliably enough to power attack. Hits you take will be smaller, and the higher you both get, the more options open up. After all, if you want to stop the fighter, you can just fly. Wind Wall below you for Archers.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    What about sneak attacks? "A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment..." Does this still apply to Concealment as a type of AC? I assume yes.

    Can I add a Concealment bonus to an item, like a Deflection bonus? I suggest you rule against that at the outset.

    One thing to consider is the math. There are others here that can better explain this, but here's my attempt.

    Me: Attack +5
    This guy: AC 21
    If I need to roll a 16 or better to beat this guy's AC, I've got a 25% chance of hitting him. If he has Displacement (concealment 50%), I need two rolls to hit him, and I'll have a 12.5% chance [the concealment chance halves the 25% chance]. If I threaten a crit, I have a 25% chance to confirm it, because miss chances are not rolled for crit confirmation.

    If concealment (50%) is changed to AC+10, then I can only hit this guy with the (ol' infallible) natural 20. Now I only have a 5% chance to hit him. Also, I will need a second natural 20 to confirm my crit. That's a 0.25% of critting.

    In your attempt to eliminate complexity (disposing of miss chance rolls), you are making combat last many rounds longer, probably at the expense of the meleers' effectiveness (at their main role).

    When I play, I roll my attack, miss chance and damage all with one toss. Same number of rolls, but a little less time.

    That's my $.02. I think you need to use the slide rule of fun: am I improving everyone's enjoyment of the game with this change?
    Last edited by Fitz10019; 2012-05-12 at 07:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    That's my $.02. I think you need to use the slide rule of fun: am I improving everyone's enjoyment of the game with this change?
    I pretty much always found the concealment rules both annoying and unfair tbh: The extra roll tends to take extra time and it simply is too good as opposed to boosting AC most of the time. I was so happy to see it done as a flat bonus in 4e.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    I never quite understood the "too many dice to roll" argument. For one, dice rolling is awesome. Who doesn't want to roll more dice?

    But seriously, somewhere in the DMG (i think), they propose roll dice at the same time, especially when it comes to miss chance. Roll attack, damage, and miss all at the same time. Examine miss chance first; if it's a miss, don't bother checking the rest. If it hits, check the attack roll; etc.

    I personally think miss chance as AC would FURTHER complicate and slow the game, as more referencing of tables would be needed (the true bane of my games). It would also lead to more attack/ac calculations. It's bad enough when the barbarian is raging, enlarged, flanking, sickened, and power attacking; adding on yet another temporary modifier, as opposed to a flat constant, is something to avoid.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Effective hiding, or invisibility (including invisibility) gives a +10 concealment bonus.
    You've only covered one aspect of the Hide-concealment relationship. The other is that you can't Hide unless you've got concealment (or cover). What impact does this have on whether you're allowed to use the skill?

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by hxolhpths View Post
    lets see...
    Consealment is in plain words a 100%die roll to miss an attack.
    that roll comes before hit roll...
    lets say your PC tries to hit a 20% concealed creature...
    by rule you roll miss chance and then hit... so..
    miss chance: Succesfull hit
    Hit roll: N20
    Critical!(auto success)
    by your rule...
    Hit Roll: N20
    Critical!(auto success)

    but...
    if that miss chance was a failed one??


    why deny that extra chance of survivalability to your players? or you npcs?

    my point is... flat AC < Miss chance
    especially at higher levels that concealment is at most times better deffence that flat AC

    think about it
    That is intentional. It is my contention that adding concealment to AC makes AC better, and I believe this is a good thing. Certain high-op games, of course, will be a little less happy without multiple layers of defense against attack rolls, but it's not like it's all that difficult to substitute for that.

    In other words, the change from 2.5% hits with displacement and super-high AC to 5% hits is expected and accepted.

    Also, your argument starts with "AC is super-high and only a natural 20 will hit it" and then switches to "at high levels AC is super low and no one cares about anything except concealment". Which is it? Given that my houserule improves the bonus to AC at higher levels, surely this is a positive change?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    What about sneak attacks? "A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment..." Does this still apply to Concealment as a type of AC? I assume yes.
    Indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    Can I add a Concealment bonus to an item, like a Deflection bonus? I suggest you rule against that at the outset.
    It functions like dodge bonuses in this respect (but not for stacking), so no; a (minor/major) cloak of displacement could effectively add concealment bonuses indirectly, if those are allowed, but under their current restrictions and with the current bypasses (true seeing trashes them, for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    One thing to consider is the math. There are others here that can better explain this, but here's my attempt.

    Me: Attack +5
    This guy: AC 21
    If I need to roll a 16 or better to beat this guy's AC, I've got a 25% chance of hitting him. If he has Displacement (concealment 50%), I need two rolls to hit him, and I'll have a 12.5% chance [the concealment chance halves the 25% chance]. If I threaten a crit, I have a 25% chance to confirm it, because miss chances are not rolled for crit confirmation.

    If concealment (50%) is changed to AC+10, then I can only hit this guy with the (ol' infallible) natural 20. Now I only have a 5% chance to hit him. Also, I will need a second natural 20 to confirm my crit. That's a 0.25% of critting.

    In your attempt to eliminate complexity (disposing of miss chance rolls), you are making combat last many rounds longer, probably at the expense of the meleers' effectiveness (at their main role).
    You're assuming a baseline of "AC scales faster than attack bonuses"; I'm assuming a baseline of "AC can become difficult to scale along with attack bonuses at high levels". This is especially true at higher op, of course, but even at lower op I don't think this should be a very severe problem.

    In short: the case where a primary melee has to roll a 16 or better to hit the opponent is, I think, rather rare. Of course, when it does occur, it will have the effect of making fights longer. However, it also makes PCs last longer and be harder to hit.

    Finally, mundanes are generally much better at attacking AC than miss chances. Fully-buffed, a party with true seeing has the same performance against enemies with or without this houserule. Without buffs, mundanes are generally unable to perform very effectively against heavy concealment; under this houserule, if they're sufficiently skilled at attacking, little changes. (For example: Power Attack for less, use tripping, or whatever, to make up the difference in AC -- or simply eat it, if you use Shock Trooper.)

    (A minor note: if AC is greater than attack bonus +20, critical threats cannot generally be confirmed, even with a natural 20.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    You've only covered one aspect of the Hide-concealment relationship. The other is that you can't Hide unless you've got concealment (or cover). What impact does this have on whether you're allowed to use the skill?
    There's no change to the rules there. If you have the appropriate concealment/cover/HiPS, hide and get total concealment. All I'm changing is the effects of having concealment on miss chance and AC.
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    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Fully-buffed, a party with true seeing has the same performance against enemies with or without this houserule.
    No one will argue that point. But, the whole party? At what level will that become the norm? It think there is a span when casters will cast True Seeing on themselves, maybe one other person, but not on the whole party.

    Note now you will have 6 ACs for anyone with concealment:
    normal (including concealment)
    normal-vs.true-seeing
    flat-footed (including concealment)
    flat-footed-vs.true-seeing
    touch (including concealment)
    touch-vs.true-seeing

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    if AC is greater than attack bonus +20, critical threats cannot generally be confirmed, even with a natural 20.[emphasis added]
    AC>AB+20 is not a good example of typical play. So you haven't really addressed the fact that concealment-as-AC undermines crit confirmation, or how this hurts mundane builds more than casters. Remember, normal miss chances do not apply to crit confirmation.
    [Also, I've never heard that a natural 20 on a crit confirmation can fail to confirm. Can you cite or explain that?]

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    You're assuming a baseline of "AC scales faster than attack bonuses";
    I'm not actually assuming anything -- I was providing an example, and here's a broader one. If I need an 10+ to hit, and you add +10 AC, then I'll need a 20 to hit. My example applies to a large range. Normal concealment only halves my chances of hitting across that range. Concealment as AC very often changes my chances to 5% across the board.

    {table=head]d20 needed|chances to hit|add 50% concealment|or add +10AC
    10+|55%|27.5%|5%
    11+|50%|25.0%|5%
    12+|45%|22.5%|5%
    13+|40%|20.0%|5%
    14+|35%|18.5%|5%
    15+|30%|15.0%|5%
    16+|25%|12.5%|5%
    17+|20%|10.0%|5%
    18+|15%|07.5%|5%
    19+|10%|05.0%|5%
    20|05%|02.5%|5%[/table]

    Everyone will probably be full power attacking, hoping for a natural 20, because it's their only chance anyway. Everyone will miss as often as the monk. Correction, the monk will reign, because by rolling the d20 more times, he will hit more often per turn.

    My overall response is that I think you need an analysis of the numbers to appreciate the true impact of this. I was hoping that someone of a more mathematical bent would compulsively jump in with a fuller analysis. [If you can't count on D&Ders for compulsive behavior, who can you count on?]

    Again, I want to emphasize having fun. There are many paths.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Look at it this way. Say there are 4 dummies made of different materials but in the same shape set up directly beside each other that all have displacement cast on them by the same wizard, or a +10 bonus to AC under this rule. Further, let us suppose that they are arbitrarily created such that they have base AC's of 10, 20, 30, and 40, and that an archer with a total attack bonus of 20 is shooting arrows at each of them. In the non-house-ruled concealment, each is getting the same relative bonus from concealment; half the shots that would hit the dummy, don't. However, that isn't true under this AC boost. The weakest dummy goes from 10 to 20 AC; either way, it's hit on anything above a 1, so it gains no benefit from the spell. The second dummy goes from 20 to 30 AC, so the number of attacks that hit goes from 95% to 45%, or a drop of slightly more than 50% of the total (it drops by about 52.5%). In the third case, it goes from 30 to 40 AC, and the number of attacks that hit goes from 50% to only 5%; a whopping 90% of the attacks that would have hit now miss. The final dummy goes from 40 to 50 AC, which means that you only hit on a 20; the spell did nothing to affect the hit chance.

    What this shows is that this doesn't actually simplify anything, beyond having to throw fewer dice to determine a hit. In this scenario, 1 spell had 3 completely different effects on how difficult it was to hit a target. The second target was twice as hard to hit, the third became 10 times harder to hit, while the first and fourth targets were unaffected by the spell.

    Forgive me, but I fail to see how this house rule simplifies anything.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    No one will argue that point. But, the whole party? At what level will that become the norm? It think there is a span when casters will cast True Seeing on themselves, maybe one other person, but not on the whole party.
    This is why item buying guides generally mention the need for mundanes to get true seeing, in some fashion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    Note now you will have 6 ACs for anyone with concealment:
    normal (including concealment)
    normal-vs.true-seeing
    flat-footed (including concealment)
    flat-footed-vs.true-seeing
    touch (including concealment)
    touch-vs.true-seeing
    The point on AC multiplication is well noted; the simplification is not total, obviously, and I would like to make that better.

    Also note that there's actually more ACs than that: AC vs. incorporeal "touch attacks" (which are actually slams that bypass armor, shield, and natural armor, but not force effects) is another, for example, and it's confusingly named to boot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    AC>AB+20 is not a good example of typical play. So you haven't really addressed the fact that concealment-as-AC undermines crit confirmation, or how this hurts mundane builds more than casters. Remember, normal miss chances do not apply to crit confirmation.
    True, this is a corner case I was addressing, and I don't expect that very often. (At all.) In fact, the opposite case is more likely (AB>AC+20); shock troopers, touch attackers, or archers are likely to reach that point sooner or later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    [Also, I've never heard that a natural 20 on a crit confirmation can fail to confirm. Can you cite or explain that?]
    Going off the sections on critical hits and attack rolls, I had read this as separating critical confirmations from the usual natural 20 auto-hit rules; however, on additional research this appears to be an uncommon interpretation. Mea culpa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    I'm not actually assuming anything -- I was providing an example, and here's a broader one. If I need an 10+ to hit, and you add +10 AC, then I'll need a 20 to hit. My example applies to a large range. Normal concealment only halves my chances of hitting across that range. Concealment as AC very often changes my chances to 5% across the board.

    {table=head]d20 needed|chances to hit|add 50% concealment|or add +10AC
    10+|55%|27.5%|5%
    11+|50%|25.0%|5%
    12+|45%|22.5%|5%
    13+|40%|20.0%|5%
    14+|35%|18.5%|5%
    15+|30%|15.0%|5%
    16+|25%|12.5%|5%
    17+|20%|10.0%|5%
    18+|15%|07.5%|5%
    19+|10%|05.0%|5%
    20|05%|02.5%|5%[/table]
    For completeness, here's the other half of the table: where you would be hitting more than half the time anyway.
    {table=head]d20 needed|chances to hit|add 50% concealment|or add +10AC
    -8+*|95%|47.5%|95%
    -7+*|95%|47.5%|90%
    -6+*|95%|47.5%|85%
    -5+*|95%|47.5%|80%
    -4+*|95%|47.5%|75%
    -3+*|95%|47.5%|70%
    -2+*|95%|47.5%|65%
    -1+*|95%|47.5%|60%
    0+*|95%|47.5%|55%
    1+|95%|47.5%|50%
    2+|95%|47.5%|45%
    3+|90%|45%|40%
    4+|85%|42.5%|35%
    5+|80%|40.0%|30%
    6+|75%|38.5%|25%
    7+|70%|35.0%|20%
    8+|65%|32.5%|15%
    9+|60%|30.0%|10%[/table]
    * Yes, I included cases where attack bonus is absurdly higher than AC; as I understand it, many pure casters simply ignore AC in favor of concealment and other miss chances, so this change is relevant to them (and slightly unfavorable).

    Who does this favor? Creatures with more concealment, higher attack bonuses, higher AC, or better ability to penetrate concealment. Almost universally, this gives a higher total chance of missing than before; that was actually intended, since I expect PCs to have more resources to use on concealment and higher AC, as well as being better able to ignore or push through concealment on enemies. That is, I deliberately picked the highest possible equivalence between miss chance and AC bonus. This could of course be lowered, if it proves unsuitable.

    Specific semi-plausible example: Level 8 halfling archer Fighter with weapon focus: longbow and a +1 longbow, as well as +1 mithral chain shirt and ring of protection +1 vs. athach (randomly grabbed from list). Halfling has at least +16 to hit, assuming starting dex of 20 -or- gloves of dexterity +2; athach has 20 AC. Therefore a 4 or better will do the job (85%). Assuming athach gets 20% concealment from somewhere (potion of blur randomly in treasure? shadowy illumination?), the chances of hitting drop to 68% or 65%; this houserule gives 3% in favor of the athach. Now suppose that the halfling has displacement cast on him; the athach's primary attack goes from hitting the (rather low) AC 22 75% of the time to hitting only 38.5% or 25%, a change of 12.5% in favor of the halfling. The athach's full attack routine (in melee, if this archer is careless or incompetent) changes from 50%/50%/50% to either 25%/25%/25% or 5%/5%/5%, a change of 20% in favor of the halfling.

    The upshot: because of differences in resources, the PC benefits more than Team Monster does from this change.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Look at it this way. Say there are 4 dummies made of different materials but in the same shape set up directly beside each other that all have displacement cast on them by the same wizard, or a +10 bonus to AC under this rule. Further, let us suppose that they are arbitrarily created such that they have base AC's of 10, 20, 30, and 40, and that an archer with a total attack bonus of 20 is shooting arrows at each of them. In the non-house-ruled concealment, each is getting the same relative bonus from concealment; half the shots that would hit the dummy, don't. However, that isn't true under this AC boost. The weakest dummy goes from 10 to 20 AC; either way, it's hit on anything above a 1, so it gains no benefit from the spell. The second dummy goes from 20 to 30 AC, so the number of attacks that hit goes from 95% to 45%, or a drop of slightly more than 50% of the total (it drops by about 52.5%). In the third case, it goes from 30 to 40 AC, and the number of attacks that hit goes from 50% to only 5%; a whopping 90% of the attacks that would have hit now miss. The final dummy goes from 40 to 50 AC, which means that you only hit on a 20; the spell did nothing to affect the hit chance.

    What this shows is that this doesn't actually simplify anything, beyond having to throw fewer dice to determine a hit. In this scenario, 1 spell had 3 completely different effects on how difficult it was to hit a target. The second target was twice as hard to hit, the third became 10 times harder to hit, while the first and fourth targets were unaffected by the spell.
    d20-based RNGs are complicated to analyze. Is that your point? Because yes, that's true. But analysis need not generally be performed in-game. Furthermore, this is by no means the only source of large swingy AC bonuses you can get; putting on a full plate can magically add 8 AC, and rusting grasp can magically remove that suddenly. (Neither is particularly common to have to recalculate in combat, of course. Which is kind of my point.)

    Spells are complicated to analyze and have weird situational effects. Is that your point? Because again, that's true. The fact that several core, and a number of non-core, spells become somewhat more complicated to analyze in practice is unfortunate, but the fact that their current forms are so different from most of the d20-based system could also be viewed as a problem, and even a more serious one; the analysis that works on flat AC boosts does not work on miss chances, and vice versa. Reducing the number of forms to analyze can, I think, make things better overall.

    In short: changing spell percentages to bonuses on the swingy d20 RNG is precisely the point, for better or for worse; I think it's for better, so "it's not a bug, it's a feature."

    (Also I'm not entirely sure how to analyze the situation with the dummies; there's not enough context to figure out what "should" happen without resorting to assumptions about the "natural" behavior of a fictional spell, in my opinion. A different example would work better in this case, I think.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    My overall response is that I think you need an analysis of the numbers to appreciate the true impact of this. I was hoping that someone of a more mathematical bent would compulsively jump in with a fuller analysis.
    Honestly, if I could get sonofzeal to jump in and do a more thorough analysis, I think I would be quite happy. I trust the work he's done on AC-related questions in the past.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    As other people have said, the key to concealment is that no matter what else is going on with your AC and defenses, you now have an X-chance of missing, which means it can be far more cost effective.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Actually, my point was that this house rule make identical circumstances have different effects. You can replace every instance of "Displacement" in my above thought experiment with "has enough cover to grant +10 AC" or "attacker has his eyes closed or is blind" or "the targets are hiding from the attacker in similar locations" and the results don't change at all. Displacement was used just because it's a commonly available spell and short to type.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Actually, my point was that this house rule make identical circumstances have different effects. You can replace every instance of "Displacement" in my above thought experiment with "has enough cover to grant +10 AC" or "attacker has his eyes closed or is blind" or "the targets are hiding from the attacker in similar locations" and the results don't change at all. Displacement was used just because it's a commonly available spell and short to type.
    I must be tired, because I'm still having trouble figuring out exactly why this is a bad thing.



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    However, PM discussion with zeal has clarified what is probably actually the largest flaw here: inequality of access to sources of concealment for PCs. Abjurant Champion builds have both very good AC and very good concealment; this changes them from being merely very hard to hit, to essentially impossible to hit without major buffs to enemies. Shock Trooper builds, of course, still have terrible AC but now have no mitigation. (Whether this last is good or bad is up to debate. )

    I think I'll have to take a little while to ponder exactly how these issues should be handled, but I may end up reducing the amount of the bonuses.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    I must be tired, because I'm still having trouble figuring out exactly why this is a bad thing.

    Rather than simplifying concealment (a flat percentage of attacks miss) the effectiveness of the concealment is based on other factors; it seems to run contrary to the stated goal of simplifying the system (i.e. attacking another creature) via complicating other systems more, and working against a basic design principle that "x=x" (standing behind a chest-high wall should make a consistent difference to how hard it is to hit the creature). Personally I prefer the way the 4th ed (or this rule) does it with the bonus over 3rd ed's percentile; I like the idea that a sufficiently skilled/strong fighter can ignore magical defences like Displacement or Blink. But, like I said, running contrary to the intent strikes me as a glitch in the system.

    On reflection, I suspect it's more the magnitude of the bonus, as it seems to make an excessively large difference, much greater or less than the basic bonuses originally granted, that bothers me. I tend to instinctively argue against changes to any system, and the more major, the more stubborn I get. Like I said, 4th ed's +2 doesn't seem to bother me much.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    So I personally disagree with this because of function. Total concealment can be achieved very early on, but a +10 is much harder to get. Lets say I some how get a +0 bonus to swinging a sword. If I entangle a peasant with a tangle foot bag, then some else cast darkness over us. Getting scared I want to finish the mission and kill the peasant right now instead of waiting to question him like I wanted to, so I go to swing at him. I now have a 5% chance of hitting him. In all honesty it doesn't matter how untrained I am I should be able to hit that guy. It shouldn't be that hard to hit an immobile peasant standing right in front of me.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    I'm not really excited about this. What you're seeing as complexity and an extra die roll, I see as tactically interesting and requiring alternate strategy.

    Let's take your most complex case for an example...mirror image. There are ways of dealing with mirror image, ways that make for an interesting tactic. A whole level of complexity that adds to the interest level of the fight is stripped away when the spell is reduced to a straight-up AC booster.

    Ways to boost attack bonus differ from "shotgun" approaches to deal with concealment.

    Also, as limejuicepowder mentioned, just chuck those percentile dice into the handfull and throw them all at once when you know concealment is in play. I don't find it hard to tote up the extra detail.
    Whadda ya mean, Orcs got levels too?

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Rather than simplifying concealment (a flat percentage of attacks miss) the effectiveness of the concealment is based on other factors; it seems to run contrary to the stated goal of simplifying the system (i.e. attacking another creature) via complicating other systems more, and working against a basic design principle that "x=x" (standing behind a chest-high wall should make a consistent difference to how hard it is to hit the creature). Personally I prefer the way the 4th ed (or this rule) does it with the bonus over 3rd ed's percentile; I like the idea that a sufficiently skilled/strong fighter can ignore magical defences like Displacement or Blink. But, like I said, running contrary to the intent strikes me as a glitch in the system.
    Hmm, it seems like we're talking about simplification from different ends of the issue, somehow; I'm thinking about it from the perspective of "everything is folded into the d20, and concealment acts like cover* or any other bonus now" and you're thinking about it from ... a description perspective? I don't know, sorry, I can't quite define it.

    *Standing behind a chest-high wall is cover, and gives a flat bonus already, in RAW. This is unchanged.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    On reflection, I suspect it's more the magnitude of the bonus, as it seems to make an excessively large difference, much greater or less than the basic bonuses originally granted, that bothers me. I tend to instinctively argue against changes to any system, and the more major, the more stubborn I get. Like I said, 4th ed's +2 doesn't seem to bother me much.
    To be honest, I've begun to suspect myself that the bonus is just too high, and +2/+5 instead of +4/+10 is closer to what it should be.

    Also, in most cases, I am similarly opposed to sweeping changes, so I do understand that perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by kulosle View Post
    So I personally disagree with this because of function. Total concealment can be achieved very early on, but a +10 is much harder to get. Lets say I some how get a +0 bonus to swinging a sword. If I entangle a peasant with a tangle foot bag, then some else cast darkness over us. Getting scared I want to finish the mission and kill the peasant right now instead of waiting to question him like I wanted to, so I go to swing at him. I now have a 5% chance of hitting him. In all honesty it doesn't matter how untrained I am I should be able to hit that guy. It shouldn't be that hard to hit an immobile peasant standing right in front of me.
    That's a ... peculiar example, but whatever. Darkness only gives a 20% miss chance, converted to a +4 here (which is likely to change anyway, as noted); the peasant gets a -2 to AC from penalized Dex, so your chance of hitting goes from 50% to 40%.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andorax View Post
    I'm not really excited about this. What you're seeing as complexity and an extra die roll, I see as tactically interesting and requiring alternate strategy.

    Let's take your most complex case for an example...mirror image. There are ways of dealing with mirror image, ways that make for an interesting tactic. A whole level of complexity that adds to the interest level of the fight is stripped away when the spell is reduced to a straight-up AC booster.
    Actually mirror image is specifically excluded for the most part -- the only time it's converted to a concealment bonus is when the opponent closes their eyes, which means +10 (under current system, which will probably be adjusted soon). I'll go back and check the example there, see if I can make it a bit clearer.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    So, you want to change the system from "concealment is useful to everyone" to "nobody cares about it anymore"?
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubik View Post
    So, you want to change the system from "concealment is useful to everyone" to "nobody cares about it anymore"?
    No, that isn't the intent, and I don't believe it's the result either, but can you expand on your point a bit more? I'm not certain what your full argument is, and I don't really want to guess wildly, as that's unfair to everyone.



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    In other news, I've changed the amount of the bonus. Updated critiques are desired. (I think? )
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    No, that isn't the intent, and I don't believe it's the result either, but can you expand on your point a bit more? I'm not certain what your full argument is, and I don't really want to guess wildly, as that's unfair to everyone.
    AC isn't very useful the vast majority of the time, primarily because it takes so much work to get it high enough to matter. Having a flat miss chance (which is very useful) changed to +2 to +5 (which really isn't) basically destroys miss chances' usefulness for anyone who isn't throwing all of their money at their Armor Class already (at least at mid-to-late levels).
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubik View Post
    AC isn't very useful the vast majority of the time, primarily because it takes so much work to get it high enough to matter. Having a flat miss chance (which is very useful) changed to +2 to +5 (which really isn't) basically destroys miss chances' usefulness for anyone who isn't throwing all of their money at their Armor Class already (at least at mid-to-late levels).
    AC scales faster than you think at mid-high levels.


    I've been following this thread, but haven't posted because Fitz10019 largely had the same analysis I did. I just don't see a way in which this concept will lead anywhere profitable. Miss chance is generally overrated and unreliable, short of misdirections like Mirror Image. It's certainly nice, but generally costly and inefficient for most PCs at most levels. It never obviated AC except for mages. And the static nature of it is a strength, not a weakness, as it makes it reliable without being total.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    And the static nature of it is a strength, not a weakness, as it makes it reliable without being total.
    Ah, there's what I was trying to say. Admittedly less of an issue now that the bonuses were changed, but my issue with it from before was that the bonus seemed to either be massive or almost completely unhelpful, in that if you were heavily optimising AC or flat out ignoring it, the bonus did nothing, while it did amazing things if you were of middling difficulty to hit already.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    You, tuggyne, are an example to everyone on how to propose an idea and calmly address criticism of it. Well done.

    But, man...
    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    AC>AB+20 is not a good example of typical play. So you haven't really addressed the fact that concealment-as-AC undermines crit confirmation, or how this hurts mundane builds more than casters. Remember, normal miss chances do not apply to crit confirmation.
    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    True, this is a corner case I was addressing, and I don't expect that very often. (At all.) In fact, the opposite case is more likely (AB>AC+20); shock troopers, touch attackers, or archers are likely to reach that point sooner or later.
    ...you duck the crit confirmation point every time. You quote it as if you would address it, and say something, but nothing that really addresses this point. I repeat normal miss chances do not apply to crit confirmation rolls. Can you address this? Even if you think it's unimportant, I'd like to hear your position.

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Also note that there's actually more ACs than that
    Hah, I knew there had to be, when I posted. Someone will add more, I thought.
    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    This is why item buying guides generally mention the need for mundanes to get true seeing, in some fashion.
    A really full analysis would take that into account: Character Level, Encounter Level monsters, frequency of concealment as an ability, frequency of true-seeing as an ability, WBL viability of concealment availability, WBL viability of true-seeing availability.
    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    {table]
    It hurts my brain that you included negative d20 rolls, but I see your point.

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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    And the static nature of it is a strength, not a weakness, as it makes it reliable without being total.
    You think having a flat X% miss chance without having to spend more money on it is a weakness?

    As opposed to AC, which has to have a constantly escalating amount of money poured into it just to stay even?

    Huh. And here I thought not having to pour money down the drain was a good thing.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    You, tuggyne, are an example to everyone on how to propose an idea and calmly address criticism of it. Well done.
    Well, I do try.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    ...you duck the crit confirmation point every time. You quote it as if you would address it, and say something, but nothing that really addresses this point. I repeat normal miss chances do not apply to crit confirmation rolls. Can you address this? Even if you think it's unimportant, I'd like to hear your position.
    Hmm, you're right, I haven't really addressed this yet.

    Basically I am more or less neutral on it. On the one hand, crits become harder to confirm on the whole, while feats like Power Critical become marginally more useful. On the other hand, I'm not sure what common sense would expect to be the case should it be harder to land a really resounding blow on a foe you can't quite see properly, or not?

    Of course, whenever common sense comes in, mundane characters tend to get nerfed. So it would probably be most sensible to simply add a provision that concealment does not apply to critical confirmation rolls. Which I think I will do. (Of course, anyone who wishes to houserule the houserule, as it were, is free to apply the nerf )

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitz10019 View Post
    A really full analysis would take that into account: Character Level, Encounter Level monsters, frequency of concealment as an ability, frequency of true-seeing as an ability, WBL viability of concealment availability, WBL viability of true-seeing availability.
    A daunting prospect, truly. I may take this up, but it will take quite a while to summarize all that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rubik View Post
    You think having a flat X% miss chance without having to spend more money on it is a weakness?

    As opposed to AC, which has to have a constantly escalating amount of money poured into it just to stay even?

    Huh. And here I thought not having to pour money down the drain was a good thing.
    Apparently you violently agree with sonofzeal.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubik View Post
    You think having a flat X% miss chance without having to spend more money on it is a weakness?

    As opposed to AC, which has to have a constantly escalating amount of money poured into it just to stay even?

    Huh. And here I thought not having to pour money down the drain was a good thing.
    .......what? Did you manage to misread "a strength, not a weakness" to say the opposite?


    But your criticism of AC is a bit unfair. Your WBL is constantly escalating too, and the fraction of your resources that have to be spent on AC to keep it competitive is roughly constant, even up to the high levels.

    Miss chance... eh. It's only affordable by lvl 14 or so, and only as a 20% protection which is nothing to write home about. By the point in the game where it's more efficient than AC, most enemies have special senses and are less likely to care. Unless you're a mage and have Mirror Image, miss chance is generally not something you can rely on, and you're probably capping out at 20% miss chance.

    But the 20% nature is a strength. It's nominal, but it's equally nominal in all cases. It'll take the edge off even the Tarrasque's attacks, but won't totally weaker enemy's attacks either. You're getting what you pay for.

    Unless they have special senses.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    .......what? Did you manage to misread "a strength, not a weakness" to say the opposite?
    I...uh...totally did, actually.

    Oops. Sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    But your criticism of AC is a bit unfair. Your WBL is constantly escalating too, and the fraction of your resources that have to be spent on AC to keep it competitive is roughly constant, even up to the high levels.
    I'd much rather spend X amount and have it keep me on par (along with other resources that also auto-scale, like the Inertial Armor power, and a monk's belt on a Wis-centric class).

    The sad thing is that the classes that need these things the most can't really use them that well. They're the ones that are the most strapped for cash, and yet they have to spend more for the same things.

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    Miss chance... eh. It's only affordable by lvl 14 or so, and only as a 20% protection which is nothing to write home about. By the point in the game where it's more efficient than AC, most enemies have special senses and are less likely to care. Unless you're a mage and have Mirror Image, miss chance is generally not something you can rely on, and you're probably capping out at 20% miss chance.

    But the 20% nature is a strength. It's nominal, but it's equally nominal in all cases. It'll take the edge off even the Tarrasque's attacks, but won't totally weaker enemy's attacks either. You're getting what you pay for.

    Unless they have special senses.
    This is one reason (of many) why I don't play mundane classes if at all possible. Spending cash on things that other classes get for free (and more of it) makes me hurt in uncomfortable places.
    Last edited by Rubik; 2012-05-15 at 07:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Houserule idea: Turn concealment into flat AC bonus

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubik View Post
    I...uh...totally did, actually.

    Oops. Sorry.
    's okay.


    I'd much rather spend X amount and have it keep me on par (along with other resources that also auto-scale, like the Inertial Armor power, and a monk's belt on a Wis-centric class).
    Of course static cost X is better (as long as X is reasonable) from a character's perspective. But from game design, fixed-percentage makes more sense. I'm not going to complain about it.

    The sad thing is that the classes that need these things the most can't really use them that well. They're the ones that are the most strapped for cash, and yet they have to spend more for the same things.

    This is one reason (of many) why I don't play mundane classes if at all possible. Spending cash on things that other classes get for free (and more of it) makes me hurt in uncomfortable places.
    I happen to prefer melee-type characters. I find the resource-management game you have to play with spell slots to be unappealing. Cast now, or save for later? I hate those choices, mostly because I believe in the fundamental perversity of the universe, and that whatever choice I make will end up being wrong.

    What matters to me is that the cost for mundane classes to get decent AC is reasonable, and my recent calculations shows that it is. Not cheap, certainly, but not bank-breaking. And at least you know what you're getting and it lasts all day long.
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