Armor as Damage Reduction

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I’ve been working on a homebrew system that aims for compatibility with monsters and adventures from B/X. Over the last month, I went down a rabbit hole of exploring using a possible armor-as-DR system before eventually abandoning it (for some of the reasons articulated here regarding possible pathologies). However, one of the things I wanted to keep from that exploration was the idea that people are people and have the same hit points regardless of what class they took while still offering some differentiation in survivability.

Armor-as-DR would have provided that (since warrior types would naturally use better armor), but since I didn’t want to go that route, I ended up pivoting a bit. Armor just gives you extra hit points. The way I implemented that is hit points are based on a simple formula (level × base hp + 5 × CON where base hp = 4 by default). Chain gives you +1 to base hp, and plate gives you +2. It’s not a perfect emulation, and there are some edge cases (such as removing armor when you are not at full hp), but it capture the idea that armor increases your effective hp without really changing the combat process.

Note sure how useful that is for others, but I figured I’d throw that out there as another idea for keeping things simple.
 

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I’ve been working on a homebrew system that aims for compatibility with monsters and adventures from B/X. Over the last month, I went down a rabbit hole of exploring using a possible armor-as-DR system before eventually abandoning it (for some of the reasons articulated here regarding possible pathologies). However, one of the things I wanted to keep from that exploration was the idea that people are people and have the same hit points regardless of what class they took while still offering some differentiation in survivability.

Armor-as-DR would have provided that (since warrior types would naturally use better armor), but since I didn’t want to go that route, I ended up pivoting a bit. Armor just gives you extra hit points. The way I implemented that is hit points are based on a simple formula (level × base hp + 5 × CON where base hp = 4 by default). Chain gives you +1 to base hp, and plate gives you +2. It’s not a perfect emulation, and there are some edge cases (such as removing armor when you are not at full hp), but it capture the idea that armor increases your effective hp without really changing the combat process.

Note sure how useful that is for others, but I figured I’d throw that out there as another idea for keeping things simple.
My brother suggested a similar idea to me. I like your approach with the armor changing the base HP in the formula. I don't think I would've thought to try it that way. My brother and I just went with Armor granting a second set of hit points that takes damage first and can only be recovered on an initiative roll/rest. This was using 5e. We never tried it though so no experience with it.
 

DrunkonDuty

he/him
Palladium does something like this. Armour has AC and DR. If you hit the AC you damage the character. If you get below the AC you damage the armour. The AC drops by 2(?) when the armour loses half its hit points. It's destroyed at 0 HP.

The target is completely missed on an attack roll of (natural) 4 or down.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Honestly, the vast majority of games I've played do that in one fashion or another; some do it by adding the armor directly to a damage threshold (so it increases how far above the threshold you need to get to produce an effect--the D6 System and Mutants and Masterminds/True20 take this approach), the rest mostly takes damage directly off based on armor (the Hero System, all the BRP derivatives I know of). The only thing you need to be aware of with these is it means you have some issues if the damage scale and the armor scale get much out of sync with each other.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
RuneQuest used armour as damage reduction back in the 1970s. It didn't cause any trouble for the group I played in during the 1980s. In general, it goes well with systems where characters have few hit points and taking any damage is a major event.

It's more likely to be a nuisance in systems with large numbers of hit points, where the arithmetic of taking damage is more of a burden, and adding another set of subtractions feels more complicated.

This latter was a problem at upper levels with Dragon Age and Fantasy AGE (as a default in the latter, since I think there was a fixed-hits optional rule).
 

aramis erak

Legend
Palladium does something like this. Armour has AC and DR. If you hit the AC you damage the character. If you get below the AC you damage the armour. The AC drops by 2(?) when the armour loses half its hit points. It's destroyed at 0 HP.

The target is completely missed on an attack roll of (natural) 4 or down.
Not Palladium there.

Palladium's armor has AR and SDC. Ignoring MegaDamage for the moment....
on 1d20+ skill mods...
Nat 1 or any roll under 5: miss
Roll of 5 to AR (inclusive): hit, damage to SDC. If SDC depleted, to PC's Personal SDC, then to HP
Roll > AR: Hit, bypasses armor, goes straight to Personal SDC
Roll = Nat 20: Double Damage.
AR doesn't drop with damage (tho' that may have been an option in one of the many splats), but it becomes worthless when the armor's SDC is gone.
Early games (Mechanoids Trilogy, PdFRPG, The Mechanoids) don't have personal SDC for player races. Still, the progression is....
  1. reduce Armor SDC, unless bypassed, until damage or armor depleted
  2. Reduce Personal SDC, until damage or PSDC depleted.
  3. Reduce HP until damage depleted or HP below (0 - PE).
    1. Figure injuries (if using those rules)

(Checking in The Mechanoids Trilogy, The Mechanoids, Robotech bk 1, and Palladium Fantasy 1Rev)
Later Palladium Books' games, including Robotech (p. 5-6) & The Mechanoids (p. 7), any hit doing "a great amount of hit points" or "severe damage" (remembering that total HP is PE+(level)d6) causes lasting injuries and penalties. Death is at negative = PE; being below 0 HP can cause permanent losses and/or insanities. (PdFRPG 1Rev has the coma, but not the major damage. See p. 7)

Items with MDC don't have ARs. Nat 20's still do double. Many GM's have Nat 20 ignore hit a location of choice at player option vs Mecha and multiple-MDC-location monsters/beings/constructs. But note: SDC damage to MDC armor or beings simply bounces off. MDC to SDC armor/PSDC/HP counts as MDC = SDC/100 (round down), and HP are killed by any MDC through....
 


1. I want a DR system, but I don't want to bog things down at the table either.
2. High hit points are an obvious thing to avoid IMO.
3. I'm also in favor of minimum damage not being 0.
4. Minimum damage could be one.
5. Maybe set minimum damage to one per damage die.
6. Or set minimum damage to something else ... maybe a scaling table.
7. I'll probably tie fatigue into combat as well.
8. I plan to have levels of fatigue reduce defense.
9. I also plan to to have levels of fatigue reduce armour effectiveness
10 I think I'll add in some other things.

.....

1,038. Look at my new game. I call it .... Phoenix Command!
Ever try living steel?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Ever try living steel?

YES!

220px-Living_Steel%2C_boxed_set.jpg


That was the beginning of the end of "I wanna do more complex games!"

Still, that cover. And the title typography ... the 80s called and said you can't get more awesome!!!!!!
 

YES!

220px-Living_Steel%2C_boxed_set.jpg


That was the beginning of the end of "I wanna do more complex games!"

Still, that cover. And the title typography ... the 80s called and said you can't get more awesome!!!!!!
I loved it too.

I know there was a post about old games being looked at again, and honestly I'd love to see LS brought back with the same setting in a more playable rules set.

And yes I know I'm like a looped MP3 but I think battlelords would be the perfect system to do it in as it focused on personal tactical combat in a high tech setting, has detailed combat rules, hit locations, damage effects and armor damage rules and it is still playable. If you liked LS you could look at the free version of the new BL rules, you might like them.

Gurps could handle it too but I doubt Jackson would allow it.
 
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