Monday, June 20, 2011

My peculiar current obsession...

is with armor class.

It seems to me that armor (not the shield) is primarily a passive defense against attacks. By the time the blow lands, the armor is the only thing protecting a person from damage. Armor is not used to parry blows or dodge, the person does that with their weapon, movement and shield if they possess one. The armor is, so to speak, the last line of defense. When all else fails, it just absorbs damage. I do believe that a person skilled with an armor's abilities (limitations and nuance of construction) can place themselves to receive blows in particular areas but, never-the-less, primarily it functions to soften a blow..One's defense comes from skills in maneuvering one's body to avoid blows, using a weapon or shield to deflect blows or using a shield or weapon to absorb blows. This is the active defense a person possesses.

Yet, most games provide a static AC or static modifiers irrespective of a person's level or possible skill. Yet, the attack skill, reflected in BtH for CnC for example, increases with level. I intend to remedy this and propose the following.

Armor provide damage absorbtion
level adds to AC
Shield adds to AC i variable amounts
weapons can potentially add to AC

I don not know, as yet, how to implement this, but I shall.

And one last thought, since the attack roll is variable, shouldn't a defense roll be variable as well? 


Jennifer said...

There are some game systems with opposed attack rolls. Maybe try something along the lines of AC mod+dex mod+level+d20 vs attack. You'd have to adjust armor AC mod values (and possibly how attack rolls are modified)accordingly to keep low level characters from being impossible to hit.

Anonymous said...

You might like the way Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition (not the current one) does this. It actually sounds like the system you are trying to model.

The way WHFRPG, 2e handles combat is one of my favorite systems for the way it treats the various parts of what combatants can do.

Norse said...

Armour sort of acts in the way you describe, and sort of doesn't. No armour in the world can protect you if you stand still and let someone stab you. The idea of armour is to protect you from being hurt by glancing blows, the better the armour the more powerful a glancing blow it can protect you against. The skill involved in wearing armour therefore is not to make sure an enemy attacks the most protected parts of you (which is extremely difficult) but to ensure that every blow that reaches you is a glancing one. The better the armour the easier this is.

As Hit Points don't represent the amount of physical punishment a character can receive so much as it does their luck and their defensive skill, having armour reduce damage received, as you suggest, instead of making it harder to hit is a sensible model that makes combat slightly more realistic without overcomplicating things.

In Backswords & Bucklers (OSR fantasy elizabethan) we have a Defence Class which is simply their hit bonus added to 10. Shields can alter this number. Armour acts as damage reduction. It works pretty well for us!

Anonymous said...

Well, since you are reading Elric, you should have a look at the Elric! or Stormbringer RPGs from Chaosium. It has opposed rolls (you get the opportunity to parry, block, or dodge a blow), and if you do get hit, the armor absorbs damage. The amount it absorbs is random (since armor doesn't protect everywhere fully).