Armor as Damage Reduction

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
So, gather round the fire and tell me your tales of systems that you love that treat armor as damage reduction rather than a modifier to hit. I'm spinning a tale of my own about how a relatively light OSR approach can run armor as damage reduction, but I find myself in need of some inspiration.
 

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Sir Brennen

Legend
Mork Borg is a rules lite system that uses armor as damage reduction. Like many such systems, armor has a die value that is rolled to determine how much damage it stops. There're only three tiers: light, medium and heavy, stopping d2, d4 and d6 respectively. A shield will stop an additional one point.

It's a pretty deadly system, so those few points can often save a character. One cool feature is you can sacrifice your shield to stop all damage from one attack.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
We loved d20 Conan, which had Armor as DR. If I recall correctly, you could choose Block (Str) or Dodge (Dex) as your AC. If you chose to Block, you subtracted your Armor's DR from the damage. If you took 20 or more damage, your Armor's DR went down by 1 (and you saved for Massive Damage, it was a brutal system).

EDIT: after some Internet research I see it was Parry and Dodge. You could suffer a penalty to Dodge if you were flanked or up against a wall.
 
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niklinna

satisfied?
This will probably not help you.

Torg Eternity has attributes called Toughness and Armor, which reduce damage taken. To-hit is generally based on Dexterity and skills that add to it (melee weapons, unarmed combat, fire combat), being rolled against the target's appropriate skill for melee, or dodge for any ranged attack. If you hit, you get to do your weapon's static base damage. If you exceed the defense by 5 or more, you get to add an exploding d6 to the base damage, and if you exceed by 10 or more, you add 2d6 exploding. There are ways to get additional bonus dice through the equivalent of feats, and through cards (Torg has cards, yes it does).

The total damage number is reduced by your Tougness + Armor (partially negated by any Armor Piercing damage the attack can do), and then you look up on a table (it goes by 5 so it's really a formula) to see how much Shock and Wounds your target takes. Shock leads to knockout, Wounds to death. PCs have anywhere from 5–13 Shock (usually 7–10), and nearly always 3 Wounds. You have to exceed those values to take someone out, so it takes 4 Wounds to kill someone. Because doing it the way every other RPG does would have made too much sense.

A shield increases your to-hit defense, and does not count as Armor—unless you use it for an active defense, which has its own rules.

I am not making this up. But someone did! And I have not even gotten into what is involved in making the attack roll to begin with. It is similarly convoluted.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
We loved d20 Conan, which had Armor as DR. If I recall correctly, you could choose Block (Str) or Dodge (Dex) as your AC. If you chose to Block, you subtracted your Armor's DR from the damage. If you took 20 or more damage, your Armor's DR went down by 1 (and you saved for Massive Damage, it was a brutal system).

EDIT: after some Internet research I see it was Parry and Dodge. You could suffer a penalty to Dodge if you were flanked or up against a wall.
Okay so it turns out it's more complicated than that. I'm going to quote a post from Dragonsfoot:

In the Conan RPG, armor prevents the character from taking some damage. Armor does not make the character harder to hit as is normal in most d20 and D&D games. The mechanics are simple. I'll show you how it works.

Each weapon in the game is given an Armor Piercing rating. Since the strength of a character is key in that character using a weapon to bash through armor, a character's STR modifier is added to the weapon's AP rating to get a total penetration value.

For example, Rael, a Vanir raider, has STR 14, which gives him a +1 STR bonus with one handed weapons, no bonus with off-hand weapons, and +1 bonus with two-handed weapons.

Rael is wielding a war spear, which is rated at AP 2. Since the war spear is a two-handed weapon, Rael's total armor piercing capability with this weapon is AP 3.



Each armor piece in the game is rated for its damage reduction. For example, a scale hauberk is rated at DR 9. This means, when the character wearing this armor is struck, the armor will deflect 9 points of damage. Thus, if the total damage is 5 points, then the protected character receives no damage. The weapon connected but was deflected--a glancing blow. If the total damage is 13 points, then 9 points are deflected, and the character wearing the armor takes 4 points of damage.

If the total AP of the weapon equals or exceeds the DR rating of the armor, then the DR rating is halved.



Thus, if Rael uses his war spear and hits an Aesir foe that is wearing a scale hauberk, the war spear will not penetrate the armor. AP 3 is less than DR 9. So, on Rael's hit, the damage throw will look like this:

1d10 weapon damage + 1 STR bonus - 9 Armor Protection, or 1d10 -8.

You can easily see that, using this war spear, Rael will put 0-2 points of damage on his foe with a non-critical hit, and 80% of the time, the damage will be zero.



Now, let's change up the scenario a little bit. Fighting next to Rael is clansman, Moyle. And, Moyle is using a bardiche, which is an AP 5 rated weapon. Moyle's STR bonus is +3, and since the bardiche is a two-handed weapon, the STR bonus is 1.5 times normal (+4), giving Moyle a total armor piercing capability of AP 9 with that weapon.

Moyle's foe is another Aesir warrior, but this one wears Mail Shirt and Brigadine Coat that is rated at DR 8. Since Moyle's total AP 9 exceeds the Aesir's DR 8, the DR rating of the Aesir's armor is halved to DR 4. Thus, any non-critical hit that Moyle makes on his foe will result in this damage:

1d10 + 1d8 weapon damage + 4 STR bonus - 4 Armor Protection, or 2-18 (1d10 + 1d8) damage.
 

Styracosaurus

Explorer
Increasing hitpoints by armor just makes combat take longer and combat tends to eat up time anyway.
It also increases math exercises, and that slows turns when you have multiple attacks hitting armored characters.

My preference is for simple roll to hit, roll some damage and get 'er done.
 


niklinna

satisfied?
Increasing hitpoints by armor just makes combat take longer and combat tends to eat up time anyway.
It also increases math exercises, and that slows turns when you have multiple attacks hitting armored characters.

My preference is for simple roll to hit, roll some damage and get 'er done.
You could get 'er done quicker with a simple d6 on a hit!

1: Head - Target dies immediately
2: Torso - Target will die on next round
3–6: Limb - Target loses use of limb
 


DrunkonDuty

he/him
Hero System and GURPS use armour as DR.

Works quite fine if you ask me. Does it add an extra layer of maths? Yes. For some (many?) people this is enough to make it a no deal. That's cool, I'm not trying to force people to do more maths. But I really have to point out that DND also has DR. It's just that, unlike games where it's standard for all attacks, in DND DR only kicks in some time; depending on buff spells, resistances, yada yada yada. Which I feel makes it worse.

I am in the midst of introducing new players to Hero in my urban fantasy game. My players, one especially, are a bit maths allergic. But they're not having any trouble. Partly that's because I'm going slow, introducing different concepts slowly and giving people a chance to get used to them before introducing new ones. Partly it's because, quite frankly, it aint hard maths. I encourage the characters to have armour rated in easy multiples, 5 or 10, to make the maths easier. The nature of the game means combat isn't a constant feature either, we're not doing a dungeon crawl.
 

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