Armor as DR

Sadrik

Villager
So I am going to break these into general terms without breaking out into individual weapons and armor which may vary.

DR is now a term for the amount of damage you reduce. Standard DR is 0.
Parry is not a term that generates your DC to be hit. Standard parry is 10 + DEX + Parry.

Armor grants:
Light DR 2
Medium DR 3, -1 Parry
Heavy DR 4, -2 Parry

Held items give a Parry bonus. If holding only one item double its parry bonus. If holding two items add them for your total parry bonus.

Shield Parry 3
Pole weapon Parry 3
Melee weapon Parry 2
Small melee weapon Parry 1
Ranged weapon Parry 0

These cover most things and gives the intent of the idea.

So if you had heavy armor, a spear, and a shield your Parry could be 14 + DEX. A great sword wielder with light armor would be 14+ DEX.

Different types of armor might grant more or less protection and different types of weapons might increase Parry or lower it based on their applicability.
 
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I like this. Part of me wants to include the proficiency bonus into the equation somehow. I'm reluctant to include this in my D&D game as it makes it feel way less like D&D (that's not a bad thing). This is an interesting idea though and worth thinking about thought.
 

Sadrik

Villager
I like this. Part of me wants to include the proficiency bonus into the equation somehow. I'm reluctant to include this in my D&D game as it makes it feel way less like D&D (that's not a bad thing). This is an interesting idea though and worth thinking about thought.
Yeah I thought about adding in the proficiency bonus to the mix. Makes sense to do so.

Perhaps it could be:
8 + Prof + DEX + Parry
 
Sadrik -
I'm interested in systems that try to rework the abstraction that is Armor Class. I've also tended to think that D&D generally undervalues the utility of the shield. So I appreciate what you're trying to do, and especially that you propose increasing the effectiveness of shields (three points of defense rather than the two provided in the D&D 5 Basic Rules).

I do have a couple of observations/questions:
1) The provision to double the parry bonus when the character holds only the weapon means that the difference in defense between a character wielding both a sword and a shield and one equipped only with a sword is merely one point, which seems too low. What's your rationale for increasing the parry value of a thing when it's the only thing in a combatant's hands, and why is it *twice* as effective when it's held alone? Would +1 be enough?

2) Your proposed "parry" reduces hit probability between weapon-wielding characters in melee; certainly it seems appropriate to factor a melee weapon into defense, but I suspect that this is part of the previous "Armor Class" abstraction; what's missing is an adjustment to AC for different weapons, or an accounting for an unarmed opponent. In D&D 5, with proficiency starting at +2, any first - fourth level character has a 60% chance to hit an AC10/unarmored opponent for damage. I do think that if the opponent wields something that could be used to block or parry an incoming attack, that should contribute to their effective AC, compared to an unarmed defender, but I suspect the base AC10 already accounts for that sort of defense. Considering the ability score modifiers, perhaps 6 points of the base AC10 is due to ability to dodge: Dexterity 1 applies -6 to AC, so three of the other four (leaving natural 1 for a miss on the attacker's part) could be allocated to other factors such as needing to go around the defenders' weapon. So I assume AC10 accounts for an armed target, and that assumption leads to suggesting zero-based defense modifiers per weapon where most one handed weapons have "parry" 0 - and -2 AC for unarmed opponents of PC races untrained in martial arts (i.e, not monks). Two handers may get +1; light ones -1, and size ought to be considered as well: an Ogre's club might gain the ogre +1 (or more) "parry" due to being large size, a halfling size (small) broadsword, -1.

Polearms are good for engaging a foe at longer range than the foe's melee weapon; once they're within their attack range and the defender has to shorten their grip or something (if that's allowed) should the defender wielding a polearm still have a defensive advantage over a defender wielding single-handed weapons such as a broad sword or a mace? I doubt it, but I have to admit that I have no applicable direct experience.

3) the damage reduction you posted seemed (to me) unfavorable to heavier armors, but leads to rough parity for the high-dexterity martial character - meaning, a high dexterity character will take about the same average damage per attack when heavily armored as when lightly armored (and therefore able to dodge better, due to armor-related limits on dexterity modifier to AC and to modifiers to "parry" per armor type (light/medium/heavy)).
 

Sadrik

Villager
Sadrik -
I'm interested in systems that try to rework the abstraction that is Armor Class. I've also tended to think that D&D generally undervalues the utility of the shield. So I appreciate what you're trying to do, and especially that you propose increasing the effectiveness of shields (three points of defense rather than the two provided in the D&D 5 Basic Rules).
Thanks! I agree I feel the shield is the best defense you can get, when referring to helping dodge/deflect blows. Also, the sword is an excellent parrying weapon when compared to a hafted weapon. This is glossed over in D&D. And further, armor makes you easier to be hit but makes you more difficult to be damaged.
I do have a couple of observations/questions:
1) The provision to double the parry bonus when the character holds only the weapon means that the difference in defense between a character wielding both a sword and a shield and one equipped only with a sword is merely one point, which seems too low. What's your rationale for increasing the parry value of a thing when it's the only thing in a combatant's hands, and why is it *twice* as effective when it's held alone? Would +1 be enough?
I had shields at +4 originally but lowered it to +3 because I thought doubling a shield would be too good. Granted you have no weapon out. I think the better way to do it may be to give it +4 but don't double when wielding only one weapon, instead add 1/2 again. So...

Shield Parry 4/6
Pole weapon Parry 3/4
Melee weapon Parry 2/3
Small melee weapon Parry 1/1
Ranged weapon Parry 0/0

How does that sound?

2) Your proposed "parry" reduces hit probability between weapon-wielding characters in melee; certainly it seems appropriate to factor a melee weapon into defense, but I suspect that this is part of the previous "Armor Class" abstraction; what's missing is an adjustment to AC for different weapons, or an accounting for an unarmed opponent. In D&D 5, with proficiency starting at +2, any first - fourth level character has a 60% chance to hit an AC10/unarmored opponent for damage. I do think that if the opponent wields something that could be used to block or parry an incoming attack, that should contribute to their effective AC, compared to an unarmed defender, but I suspect the base AC10 already accounts for that sort of defense. Considering the ability score modifiers, perhaps 6 points of the base AC10 is due to ability to dodge: Dexterity 1 applies -6 to AC, so three of the other four (leaving natural 1 for a miss on the attacker's part) could be allocated to other factors such as needing to go around the defenders' weapon. So I assume AC10 accounts for an armed target, and that assumption leads to suggesting zero-based defense modifiers per weapon where most one handed weapons have "parry" 0 - and -2 AC for unarmed opponents of PC races untrained in martial arts (i.e, not monks). Two handers may get +1; light ones -1, and size ought to be considered as well: an Ogre's club might gain the ogre +1 (or more) "parry" due to being large size, a halfling size (small) broadsword, -1.

Polearms are good for engaging a foe at longer range than the foe's melee weapon; once they're within their attack range and the defender has to shorten their grip or something (if that's allowed) should the defender wielding a polearm still have a defensive advantage over a defender wielding single-handed weapons such as a broad sword or a mace? I doubt it, but I have to admit that I have no applicable direct experience.
I think the extra size from the wielder offsets the advantage to using a larger weapon. It is easier to hit a large creature/object they also can parry better. To make it simple these factors could offset each other.

3) the damage reduction you posted seemed (to me) unfavorable to heavier armors, but leads to rough parity for the high-dexterity martial character - meaning, a high dexterity character will take about the same average damage per attack when heavily armored as when lightly armored (and therefore able to dodge better, due to armor-related limits on dexterity modifier to AC and to modifiers to "parry" per armor type (light/medium/heavy)).
Well with the armors I was thinking of dice types. 2 = 1d4, 3 = 1d6, and 4 = 1d8. I also wanted to make the values low enough so that with magic armor bonuses the DR does not become too onus. Note the DEX modifier applies equally to both light and heavy armor, though it does modify the parry...

No Armor: DR 0, 10 + DEX + Parry (8 + Prof + DEX + Parry)
Light Armor: DR 2, 10 + DEX + Parry (8 + Prof + DEX + Parry)
Medium Armor: DR 3, 9 + DEX + Parry (7 + Prof + DEX + Parry)
Heavy Armor: DR 4, 8 + DEX + Parry (6 + Prof + DEX + Parry)

You could go 2/4/6 for the DRs I suppose, but I worry about magic making the DRs to high and making HP last too long. perhaps 1/3/5 may work. Also, to point out this is not an exhaustive list of armors just a ball park. So 1/3/5, is likely correct when considering the worst and best light and heavy armors.
 
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Wrathamon

Explorer
The problem I have with DR in general is that you become impossible to damage at low levels from small weapons and it becomes insignificant at higher levels.

It also adds in more math to slow the game down.

You could add a Damage Save that is based on Armor being worn. You make the save and you negate the damage.
Some characters can use a reaction to Parry\block getting an extra save.

at this point its you take damage or you dont. I hit you. Did you take damage? Save. I succeeded, it glanced off my armor or I am going to parry and use my reaction to block the damage.

and yes more rolls also slows down the game but I dont think it does as much as people who cant do basic math very fast.
 
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DMMike

Game Masticator
Sadrik -
I'm interested in systems that try to rework the abstraction that is Armor Class. I've also tended to think that D&D generally undervalues the utility of the shield.
Then I have a game for you!

2) Your proposed "parry" reduces hit probability between weapon-wielding characters in melee; certainly it seems appropriate to factor a melee weapon into defense, but I suspect that this is part of the previous "Armor Class" abstraction; what's missing is an adjustment to AC for different weapons, or an accounting for an unarmed opponent. In D&D 5, with proficiency starting at +2, any first - fourth level character has a 60% chance to hit an AC10/unarmored opponent for damage. . . Two handers may get +1; light ones -1, and size ought to be considered as well: an Ogre's club might gain the ogre +1 (or more) "parry" due to being large size, a halfling size (small) broadsword, -1.
Parrying is a skill. You increase it just like your swimming skill or acting skill. And you use it to defeat attack attempts. Shields provide a bonus to the parrying skill, but weapons do not. Think about this: a two hander is much bigger and has more blocking area, but is also much slower to swing than a light one.

Polearms are good for engaging a foe at longer range than the foe's melee weapon; once they're within their attack range and the defender has to shorten their grip or something (if that's allowed) should the defender wielding a polearm still have a defensive advantage over a defender wielding single-handed weapons such as a broad sword or a mace?
Polearms should grant an initiative bonus - first strike capability and all. Once the attacker can reach, the defender could adjust his grip, drop his polearm and draw another weapon, or simply back up, trying to keep his opponent in striking range.

Whether the polearm should have defensive advantage is a question for a heavy-rules system, because it's on par with: weapon speed, weapon defensive training, weapon hit points (wooden haft versus blade), and footwork used (to maintain distance).

3) the damage reduction you posted seemed (to me) unfavorable to heavier armors, but leads to rough parity for the high-dexterity martial character - meaning, a high dexterity character will take about the same average damage per attack when heavily armored as when lightly armored (and therefore able to dodge better, due to armor-related limits on dexterity modifier to AC and to modifiers to "parry" per armor type (light/medium/heavy)).
How about 3 points of damage reduction reduces your parrying odds by 5%, 4 points by 10%, and 5 points by 15%?

The problem I have with DR in general is that you become impossible to damage at low levels from small weapons and it becomes insignificant at higher levels.
A successful hit always does a minimum amount of damage. Problem solved. DR works better in 5e than in 3e, since high level hit points are defined in a way that emphasizes longevity over physical destruction.

You could add a Damage Save that is based on Armor being worn. You make the save and you negate the damage. Some characters can use a reaction to Parry\block getting an extra save.
Bringing up Reactions is interesting, because it also brings up action economy. The move/action/reaction system is fantastic - except that -defending yourself- falls completely outside of that economy. For 5e, parrying should be an Action and/or Reaction, while damage reduction applies to all hits.

and yes more rolls also slows down the game but I dont think it does as much as people who cant do basic math very fast.
What if you could choose between a 1d4 or a 2?
Gamers should be able to subtract DR from damage in the time that it takes to carry their pencils to the correct spot on their character sheets. If that's a problem, use an iPhone.

Sadrik's ideas are brilliant (wait for it...). I like them so much, I've already implemented them into the homebrewed game here. Unfortunately, D&D 5 uses a few conventions that do not allow for smooth implementation of Sadrik's ideas (like the action economy and hit point proliferation).
 

Sadrik

Villager
Thanks for the compliments.

Parrying is a skill. You increase it just like your swimming skill or acting skill. And you use it to defeat attack attempts. Shields provide a bonus to the parrying skill, but weapons do not. Think about this: a two hander is much bigger and has more blocking area, but is also much slower to swing than a light one.

Polearms should grant an initiative bonus - first strike capability and all. Once the attacker can reach, the defender could adjust his grip, drop his polearm and draw another weapon, or simply back up, trying to keep his opponent in striking range.

Whether the polearm should have defensive advantage is a question for a heavy-rules system, because it's on par with: weapon speed, weapon defensive training, weapon hit points (wooden haft versus blade), and footwork used (to maintain distance).
Essentially everyone gets the Parry "skill". Everyone gets to apply their proficiency bonus to some weapons or magical attacks so everyone is proficient in parrying.

As to the weapons and them increasing your parry. I think a big weapon can hold things at bay and give less opportunity to attack the person, i.e., increase their parry score. I hold you away from me with my sword and shield. If you sneak one in you will have my armor to contend with.

Wrathamon said:
You could add a Damage Save that is based on Armor being worn. You make the save and you negate the damage.
Damage as a save rules are neat.
So you deal melee damage equal to 10 + STR + converted die
d4 2
d6 3
d8 4
d10 5
d12 6
d20 10

You make a damage save equal to your AC -10 - DEX + CON + d20.
So if your armor gave you 15+DEX, you would have 5+CON+d20.

You have essentially three HP and can be damaged three times (going in line with the death saves). A crit deals two damage. Go to zero then you are dying.

It changes a lot though. Spells and cures have to be completely rebalanced and tuned differently. This is a completely different game.


Armor as DR does not alter it to that level of play and can easily be accommodated within the rules.
 
Regarding...
Also, the sword is an excellent parrying weapon when compared to a hafted weapon. This is glossed over in D&D.
Coincidentally, recently I encountered the assertion that the axe was a poor defensive weapon.
Should that difference affect the parry bonus? Perhaps the swords get +2, axes and other hafted melee weapons (axes, maces, hammers) get +1 or even 0?


armor makes you easier to be hit but makes you more difficult to be damaged.
I see that the "easier to be hit" is reflected in your penalties to parry for medium and heavy armors, and apparently the parry penalty you give medium and heavy armor replaces the cap on dexterity modifier in the rules? (since you later state that heavy armor still gets a DEX, in contrast to the armor table (in the Basic rules) showing that heavy armor AC is not affected by dexterity modifier). I prefer that the weight and bulk of armor affects the dexterity modifier to defense (whether "Armor Class" or your "Parry") rather than caps that modifier or causes it to be ignored. Using a penalty rather than a cap will mean that every character is easier to hit when it is in heavy armor than when it is not, and that increasing dexterity will always benefit defense, regardless of armor worn. The dexterity 18 fighter in heavy chain or plate should more adroitly dodge blows than the dexterity 10 fighter in the same armor.

regarding the modification to parry bonus when it's the only item in one's hands:
I do think the X1.5, round down rule for held items looks more appropriate than doubling. I would ask you to clarify whether the parry bonuses for held items stack. If they don't, then I think the increase for holding the one item alone is too much, because without stacking but with the single-item increase, a fighter with only a shield is two points better in parry than one with a shield and a sword, independent of actions taken in combat.

With respect to my suggestion that weapon size matter for "parry", with large size weapons better than small size ones, you responded:
I think the extra size from the wielder offsets the advantage to using a larger weapon. It is easier to hit a large creature/object they also can parry better. To make it simple these factors could offset each other.
Seems reasonable that the parry modifier for weapon size could simply offset a creature size modifier to AC/parry. Except size modifiers surely are already built into the stat blocks, so adding additional parry for this proposal would be appropriate - unless one decides the current AC also accounts for that.

Regarding armor - thanks for clarifying about DR 2,3,4 relating to die size:
Well with the armors I was thinking of dice types. 2 = 1d4, 3 = 1d6, and 4 = 1d8. I also wanted to make the values low enough so that with magic armor bonuses the DR does not become too onus.
Perhaps magic armor bonuses should be considered deflection and therefore modify Parry rather than DR.

If you want to roll dice/have variability in DR, how about d3 for light, d4+1 for medium, d6+2 for heavy to start with?

What do you think of my observation that the conventional AC may account for the wielding of a melee weapon, which can be accommodated by either:
a) the parry modifier to a weapon should be normalized to 0 for the melee weapons, while small and light weapons (e.g.: dagger) get -1, pole weapons (e.g.: spear, halberd) get +1,
or
b) the base Parry for a human becomes 6, to account for adding both Proficiency and weapon parry bonus.

You could go 2/4/6 for the DRs I suppose, but I worry about magic making the ACs to high and making HP last too long. perhaps 1/3/5 may work..
I think you mean magic making the DR, rather than AC, too high? Does my suggestion above about applying the magic bonus to Parry deal with this issue?
As far as HP lasting too long - this is of course going to depend on the specific DR value(s) and on the nature of attacks the characters suffer in the campaign. The math has to work differently if we simply translate a fixed AC to a fixed DR. But because in D&D damage per attack tends to increase with level of encounter, going to an Armor as DR system risks the behavior mentioned by [MENTION=7989]Wrathamon[/MENTION], that the armor-wearer becomes less vulnerable than in the unmodified rules to low-damage attacks, but less protected in the attacks of foes that deliver higher damage per attack. A certain degree of this makes sense - a dagger wielded against a plate armored champion in melee would have a hard time doing any real damage at all.
One possible mitigation for the fact that armor-as-DR doesn't reduce hit probability, so in this system armor helps less than AC against high-damage attacks: perhaps DR can be proportional to proficiency bonus?
At its most simple:
light armor DR = prof
medium = 2*prof
heavy=3*prof
This does mean the dagger-armed (d4 damage) PC cannot expect to hurt the mail armored NPC (DR=6 at levels 1-4) at all unless
  • the PC makes critical hit
  • the attack has significant damage bonuses of some sort (ability modifiers, magic enhancement, circumstantial or class feature bonuses,
  • the attack qualifies for additional damage dice (e.g., Sneak Attack)
  • there is explicit provision for circumventing armor (perhaps within critical hits)

Another idea: factor in degree of success - increase damage or die size proportional to the amount one exceeds the needed to-hit roll, and/or make critical hit dependent upon degree of success (possibly in addition to on natural 20). I imagine that will slow the game down with more math.
 
A few responses to points made by DMMike and Sadrik:

Then I have a game for you!
I'll check out your game.

Parrying is a skill. You increase it just like your swimming skill or acting skill. And you use it to defeat attack attempts.
Agreed that "parrying" is a skill, but I think [MENTION=14506]Sadrik[/MENTION]'s "Parry" refers to defense in general rather than solely to parrying action.
Shields provide a bonus to the parrying skill, but weapons do not.
I disagree that weapons do not contribute. Certainly it's harder to get a good hit on a person armed with a sword than one who is not armed, if they can block or parry with their sword or if that sword is a threat to the attacker. I suppose the effect of weapon might be insignificant, or at least smaller, in combination with a shield. Perhaps where Sadrik had +2 for a sword, +3 for sword alone, it should be +1 for sword, +2 if it's the only thing held, and shield at +3 or +4 makes for sword and shield parry at +4 or +5.
Think about this: a two hander is much bigger and has more blocking area, but is also much slower to swing than a light one.
Yes, but if one is "swinging" a two hand weapon, one is not defending oneself with that weapon except for the possibly significant factor of intimidation. Keep the weapon between one and one's attacker, now it's defending one - while also threatening, if it's pointy, and such a threatening weapon's length might function to keep the opponent out of range to make an effective strike.

Polearms should grant an initiative bonus - first strike capability and all.
Maybe. Regardless, the one with reach already gets an Opportunity Attack when the one with initiative tries to move into melee range.

Whether the polearm should have defensive advantage is a question for a heavy-rules system, because it's on par with: weapon speed, weapon defensive training, weapon hit points (wooden haft versus blade), and footwork used (to maintain distance).
that depends how rules heavy ones wants to get. Why can't or shouldn't one assign a static defense value to different weapons depending on any of several factors, such as speed, reach, type (polearm, sword, hafted...) and an assumption of training?


How about 3 points of damage reduction reduces your parrying odds by 5%, 4 points by 10%, and 5 points by 15%?
Not sure what this was getting at in response to my observation that in my (flawed) understanding of Sadrik's proposal, it looked like a high dex character could do just as well against melee weapon attacks in light, medium and heavy armor. Is this comment about incrementing Parry penalty with Damage Reduction?


A successful hit always does a minimum amount of damage. Problem solved.
I suppose this can address the problem that sufficient Armor DR makes a character invulnerable to low damage weapon attacks, what about increased vulnerability to higher level high-damage attacks making DR seem pointless?
DR works better in 5e than in 3e, since high level hit points are defined in a way that emphasizes longevity over physical destruction.
[MENTION=6685730]DMMike[/MENTION], please elaborate on this point about the definition of hit points.


Bringing up Reactions is interesting, because it also brings up action economy. The move/action/reaction system is fantastic - except that -defending yourself- falls completely outside of that economy. For 5e, parrying should be an Action and/or Reaction, while damage reduction applies to all hits.
Agreed, and parrying could be added as a possible action/reaction, akin to the existing "Dodge", but I think @Morrus; "Parry" is independent of action economy, thus could coexist with [MENTION=7989]Wrathamon[/MENTION]'s counter proposal to use an action or reaction to "parry or block". Such a parry or block attempted as a reaction may be much like a Shield spell - implemented specifically in response to a known-damaging blow.


Gamers should be able to subtract DR from damage in the time that it takes to carry their pencils to the correct spot on their character sheets.
Indeed.


I think a big weapon can hold things at bay and give less opportunity to attack the person, i.e., increase their parry score. I hold you away from me with my sword and shield. If you sneak one in you will have my armor to contend with.
Yes, but the defender waiting for an attacker to approach already gets an Opportunity Attack, interrupting their attacker's movement, when the attacker tries to come within the defender's range. Maybe the attacker can complete move and their attack only if they avoid a successful hit from the defender's reaction attack (perhaps necessitating a change/clarification of the rule that the interrupted character gets to continue their turn after the reaction is completed), or only after an additional save in response to that attack. This gives special effectiveness to the polearm and I think better models its value in defense than +1 to parry or AC over a melee weapon without reach.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Good points.

I disagree that weapons do not contribute. Certainly it's harder to get a good hit on a person armed with a sword than one who is not armed, if they can block or parry with their sword or if that sword is a threat to the attacker. I suppose the effect of weapon might be insignificant, or at least smaller, in combination with a shield. Perhaps where Sadrik had +2 for a sword, +3 for sword alone, it should be +1 for sword, +2 if it's the only thing held, and shield at +3 or +4 makes for sword and shield parry at +4 or +5.
Weapons shouldn't contribute to parrying bonuses because their design is offensive, while the shield's is defensive. If you are able to parry with your weapon, it's because you have training in the skill of parrying. So, weapon parry bonuses can be redundant.

please elaborate on this point about the definition of hit points.
For 5th edition, hit points are significantly different than those in previous editions. In particular, 5e makes significant effort to reduce numbers and math. Hit points aren't lower than in previous editions, but everything else is. One consequence is that hit points are the major feature of high-level characters.

What's the difference between high- and low-level characters? Do all high-level characters have dragon hide and massive bodies? No, the main difference is that high-level characters are hard to kill.

A little rearranging gives you: hit points = hard to kill, not durability.
 

Sadrik

Villager
Coincidentally, recently I encountered the assertion that the axe was a poor defensive weapon.
Should that difference affect the parry bonus? Perhaps the swords get +2, axes and other hafted melee weapons (axes, maces, hammers) get +1 or even 0?
I agree with this and this was the intent - make certain weapons and items more and less defensively attuned. So a longsword vs a battleaxe might be:
Longsword 1d8, +2 Parry, slashing/piercing
Battleaxe 1d10, +1 Parry, slashing

Of course that is how I would do it if I were rewriting the weapon list. As is you just tack on a Parry score based on what I had previously provided.

Shield Parry +4
Pole weapon Parry +3
Melee weapon Parry +2
Small melee weapon Parry +1
Ranged weapon Parry +0

I see that the "easier to be hit" is reflected in your penalties to parry for medium and heavy armors, and apparently the parry penalty you give medium and heavy armor replaces the cap on dexterity modifier in the rules? (since you later state that heavy armor still gets a DEX, in contrast to the armor table (in the Basic rules) showing that heavy armor AC is not affected by dexterity modifier).
Yes I believe caps are bad. instead it should be modified in this way it does not limit the exceptions. If you have heavy armor on you should always be dragged down by it. Not only in certain instances of high DEX, or inthe case of 5e heavy armor in instances of low DEX.

I prefer that the weight and bulk of armor affects the dexterity modifier to defense (whether "Armor Class" or your "Parry") rather than caps that modifier or causes it to be ignored. Using a penalty rather than a cap will mean that every character is easier to hit when it is in heavy armor than when it is not, and that increasing dexterity will always benefit defense, regardless of armor worn. The dexterity 18 fighter in heavy chain or plate should more adroitly dodge blows than the dexterity 10 fighter in the same armor.
I do too. I would institute encumbrance as the factor for the parry penalty and the factor for the perhaps lowering movement rate. This is however a little further from where the game is currently written. You could do both and you only tae the most extreme

regarding the modification to parry bonus when it's the only item in one's hands:
I do think the X1.5, round down rule for held items looks more appropriate than doubling.
Yes if you have two items they stack. I suppose if you had more arms you could only pick your two best items though. I think if you only have one item in hand you could just give a blanket +1 too. In this way it removes the x1.5 and makes it pretty easy.

So a couple of examples:
You only have a shield out. Your parry is 15+DEX
You only have a greatsword out. Your parry is 13+DEX
You have shield and longsword out. Your parry is 16+DEX
You have a longbow out. Your parry is 11+DEX

Shield Parry +4
Pole weapon Parry +3
Melee weapon Parry +2
Small melee weapon Parry +1
Ranged weapon Parry +0

Seems reasonable that the parry modifier for weapon size could simply offset a creature size modifier to AC/parry. Except size modifiers surely are already built into the stat blocks, so adding additional parry for this proposal would be appropriate - unless one decides the current AC also accounts for that.
Some complexity is here though.
Suppose each size level adds -1 Parry, but each size level of the weapon adds +1 Parry. These would counteract each other while a weapon is being held only.

Examples:
A large sized ogre gets -1 parry for being large so his base parry would be 8 (10 -1 size -1 DEX). Then if he had a large greatclub that would grant parry +4 (+2 for base, +1 for only one item, +1 for size). So total Parry would be 12. This is 1 point higher than the 11 AC the creature normally has.

What do you think of my observation that the conventional AC may account for the wielding of a melee weapon, which can be accommodated by either:
a) the parry modifier to a weapon should be normalized to 0 for the melee weapons, while small and light weapons (e.g.: dagger) get -1, pole weapons (e.g.: spear, halberd) get +1,
or
b) the base Parry for a human becomes 6, to account for adding both Proficiency and weapon parry bonus.
So the ogre would be -1 while wielding a small weapon and -2 with a bow, +1 with a spear and +2 with a shield. This seems very reasonable. In this method you would never stack items you would only ever take the best defensive item.

For your item b. I do not know what you are referencing. Though I think the proficiency in the weapon is what should grant your parry, so 8+prof+item+size+DEX.

Regarding armor - thanks for clarifying about DR 2,3,4 relating to die size:
Perhaps magic armor bonuses should be considered deflection and therefore modify Parry rather than DR.

If you want to roll dice/have variability in DR, how about d3 for light, d4+1 for medium, d6+2 for heavy to start with?
I think it will be ok to have them add to DR but note that this gives the option for armor to give potentially to either one. So +1 armor might be + 1 DR armor or +1 Parry armor.

Dice for DR I would only use that if the damage rolls are averaged. So longsword does 4+STR, then you roll your armor's DR to reduce the damage.

As far as HP lasting too long - this is of course going to depend on the specific DR value(s) and on the nature of attacks the characters suffer in the campaign. The math has to work differently if we simply translate a fixed AC to a fixed DR.

One possible mitigation for the fact that armor-as-DR doesn't reduce hit probability, so in this system armor helps less than AC against high-damage attacks: perhaps DR can be proportional to proficiency bonus?
A possible solution is to drop all HD by one die type. so d4 for wizards, d6 for clerics and rogues, and d8 for fighters. In this way the DR is accounted without potentially lengthening an encounter.

The intent too is that this would make things easier to hit in general because AC is now based on what you are holding not what you are wearing. So many character types archers in combat, spellcasters in combat and monks trying to punch a knight will all be more easily hit because they are not afforded the same level of protection as someone with sword and shield. This means that being hit more often translates to more damage being dealt.

Agreed that "parrying" is a skill, but I think [MENTION=14506]Sadrik[/MENTION]'s "Parry" refers to defense in general rather than solely to parrying action.
I disagree that weapons do not contribute. Certainly it's harder to get a good hit on a person armed with a sword than one who is not armed, if they can block or parry with their sword or if that sword is a threat to the attacker. I suppose the effect of weapon might be insignificant, or at least smaller, in combination with a shield. Perhaps where Sadrik had +2 for a sword, +3 for sword alone, it should be +1 for sword, +2 if it's the only thing held, and shield at +3 or +4 makes for sword and shield parry at +4 or +5.
Yes, but if one is "swinging" a two hand weapon, one is not defending oneself with that weapon except for the possibly significant factor of intimidation. Keep the weapon between one and one's attacker, now it's defending one - while also threatening, if it's pointy, and such a threatening weapon's length might function to keep the opponent out of range to make an effective strike.
Conceptually nailed it.

that depends how rules heavy ones wants to get. Why can't or shouldn't one assign a static defense value to different weapons depending on any of several factors, such as speed, reach, type (polearm, sword, hafted...) and an assumption of training?
I think this does add a little bit of change but it is not that much more difficult to master at the table. Players would ask what they are wielding to determine their relative chances to hit it rather than what type of armor they are wearing. Armor would determine how easily damaged... Overall this is certainly not rules heavy inasmuch as D&D is not rules heavy already.

what about increased vulnerability to higher level high-damage attacks making DR seem pointless?
I think this is where magic items come in. They might increase the DR of the armor you are wearing. Potentially adamantine +3 Plate might give you DR10 (5+3+2).



There is one other concern. That is Parry is for melee attacks. When someone shoots a bow you do not parry the arrow with your sword (without supernatural effort). So, what should the "AC" computation be for ranged attacks? perhaps take 10 on your dex save? Perhaps simply 10+DEX+size+armor penalty?
 

BigVanVader

Villager
I think wearing full plate should make you immune to slashing damage, full stop. If your character only has a sword, and the big bad villain is in full plate, you're in trouble.

Unless, of course, your character half-swords and can get the edge of his sword into the weak points of the armor. Which might leave you with even more math to figure out. But it would still be cool to attempt.
 

Sadrik

Villager
I think wearing full plate should make you immune to slashing damage, full stop. If your character only has a sword, and the big bad villain is in full plate, you're in trouble.

Unless, of course, your character half-swords and can get the edge of his sword into the weak points of the armor. Which might leave you with even more math to figure out. But it would still be cool to attempt.
This is a doable system. You just have to have a called shot system in play.

Also I don't thing plate should make you immune to damage, I can see if you wanted to model combat like that you could increase the DR of of plate to slashing damage (and potentially other types of damage as well), perhaps +5 DR vs. slashing and fire, and -5 vs electrical and thunder (or whatever seems appropriate). Then with a called shot system you just add a penalty to avoid the bonus DR.
 
Good points.
Thanks.

Weapons shouldn't contribute to parrying bonuses because their design is offensive, while the shield's is defensive.
Logical, but not entirely convincing: Items can be useful for purposes other than those for which they were designed/intended.
If you are able to parry with your weapon, it's because you have training in the skill of parrying. So, weapon parry bonuses can be redundant.
Redundant with what, in the D&D 5 system? Is there a parry skill, or action/reaction? I have access only to the Basic rules at the moment; in those there is Dodge, but no explicit parry action or skill. I supposed the redundancy is with the per-level increase in hit points? BY that logic, I propose that consistency demands that the Dexterity modifier should affect hit points per level, instead of AC.

For 5th edition, hit points are significantly different than those in previous editions. In particular, 5e makes significant effort to reduce numbers and math. Hit points aren't lower than in previous editions, but everything else is.
So, your position is that the changes in effective attack bonus and AC, associated with "bounded accuracy", change the nature of hit points? I don't see it; the pool of hit points represent, as far as I can tell, mostly the same thing they did in previous editions, and it always was something common to all characters.

A little rearranging gives you: hit points = hard to kill, not durability.
Rearranging of what? A paragraph in the Basic rules claims that hit points represent both "hard to kill" and "durability". How are these different, or in conflict, in your view?
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Redundant with what, in the D&D 5 system? Is there a parry skill, or action/reaction? I have access only to the Basic rules at the moment; in those there is Dodge, but no explicit parry action or skill.

So, your position is that the changes in effective attack bonus and AC, associated with "bounded accuracy", change the nature of hit points? I don't see it; the pool of hit points represent, as far as I can tell, mostly the same thing they did in previous editions, and it always was something common to all characters.
A parry bonus from a weapon would be redundant with ranks (outdated term?) in a parry skill. Although Sadrik may have defined them otherwise, I'd prefer to see:
Parry skill: one's ability to avoid taking damage.
Weapon parry bonus: an increased ability to avoid damage due to the design of a weapon.

If we can agree on this, then a parrying dagger, certain hilts, and a rapier (used in a duel) might be worth parry points. But really, since damage can come from a giant fist, 20' long tentacle, or dragon claws, I don't see how the above tools would make a difference. At least, not like a shield would.

Re: new hit points: yup, bounded accuracy and magic item limits turn hit points into an epic-ness meter. In 3rd edition, you could take a two-handed weapon, power attack, high strength, and a good +3 or +4 magic bonus to deal 25+ damage in one hit. That's not likely in 5th edition. Yet, hit points look like they climb just as high, and starting hit points are even higher (at least for the fragile classes).

In 3rd, your ability to kill your enemy scaled with your level and the difficulty of the enemy - as enemy hit points increased, so did your damage ability. In 5th, your damage output isn't scaling as much. Something has changed from previous editions.
 
Sadrik -
Good to know I'm grasping what you're proposing.

A few comments on a couple items:
Some complexity is here though.
Suppose each size level adds -1 Parry, but each size level of the weapon adds +1 Parry. These would counteract each other while a weapon is being held only.

Examples:
A large sized ogre gets -1 parry for being large so his base parry would be 8 (10 -1 size -1 DEX). Then if he had a large greatclub that would grant parry +4 (+2 for base, +1 for only one item, +1 for size). So total Parry would be 12. This is 1 point higher than the 11 AC the creature normally has.
The Ogre in the DM Basic rules wears hide armor and has a -1 dexterity modifier. I surmise that the stated AC11 assumes other factors, since Hide on a human would be AC11 absent other modifiers, and taking one away for dexterity should bring the character back to AC10.

So the ogre would be -1 while wielding a small weapon and -2 with a bow, +1 with a spear and +2 with a shield. This seems very reasonable. In this method you would never stack items you would only ever take the best defensive item.
Why no stacking? Usually not a problem, as many weapons would provide no modifier to parry, but if some weapon has +1 and the character wielding it also uses a shield they should get the benefit. Also note, if the base AC10 assumes the person is armed, then lacking a weapon implies -2 to parry, which could be made up by the bonus for carrying a shield alone.

For your item b. I do not know what you are referencing. Though I think the proficiency in the weapon is what should grant your parry, so 8+prof+item+size+DEX.
As it stands, your proposal grants an across-the-board increase to defense in melee. I was suggesting that perhaps the baseline AC10 should be assumed to include a melee weapon defense - while we also have to assume that AC10 does not include a shield, since that grants separate +2 to AC in the unmodified D&D 5 rules. In order to accommodate Proficiency in the equation, you reduced the base "Parry" number from 10 to 8, so if it's appropriate to assume the AC10 medium size opponent is armed, the base needs further reduction to 6, unless what's desired upon introduction of "Parry" is generally increased defense, in trade for moving all armor to DR. The unarmored character armed with a longsword had AC = 10+ dexterity modifier, with Parry based at 8, now it has Parry = 8 + prof + weapon parry bonus + dexterity modifier. Level 1-4 average dexterity person, unarmored and armed with longsword was AC10, becomes Parry 12 or 13 under Sadrik's Armor as DR and Parry

regarding magic armor:
I think it will be ok to have them add to DR but note that this gives the option for armor to give potentially to either one. So +1 armor might be + 1 DR armor or +1 Parry armor.
potential for interesting differences here

A possible solution is to drop all HD by one die type. so d4 for wizards, d6 for clerics and rogues, and d8 for fighters. In this way the DR is accounted without potentially lengthening an encounter.
this change could alleviate a problem with low quantity damage attacks becoming mostly irrelevant to well-armored characters, at the expense of making the non-armor wearing classes more vulnerable too.

Regarding the point I raised about high damage attacks trivializing DR:
I think this is where magic items come in. They might increase the DR of the armor you are wearing. Potentially adamantine +3 Plate might give you DR10 (5+3+2).
Okay.

There is one other concern. That is Parry is for melee attacks. When someone shoots a bow you do not parry the arrow with your sword (without supernatural effort). So, what should the "AC" computation be for ranged attacks? perhaps take 10 on your dex save? Perhaps simply 10+DEX+size+armor penalty?
It should be whatever it is, less the weapons bonus, with provision for the possibility for applying all or part of the bonus, perhaps for different bonus, dependent on especially fine reflexes and perception.

I think wearing full plate should make you immune to slashing damage, full stop. If your character only has a sword, and the big bad villain is in full plate, you're in trouble.

Unless, of course, your character half-swords and can get the edge of his sword into the weak points of the armor. Which might leave you with even more math to figure out. But it would still be cool to attempt.
I agree, with the clarification that half-swording is a thrusting (piercing damage) attack

This is a doable system. You just have to have a called shot system in play.

Also I don't thing plate should make you immune to damage, I can see if you wanted to model combat like that you could increase the DR of of plate to slashing damage (and potentially other types of damage as well), perhaps +5 DR vs. slashing and fire, and -5 vs electrical and thunder (or whatever seems appropriate). Then with a called shot system you just add a penalty to avoid the bonus DR.
One system I read about called that penalty "armor bypass". I suppose materials and workmanship would affect the bypass value, though in D&D 5 it might be appropriate to attack with disadvantage to model the attempt to bypass armor.

OS
 
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Sadrik

Villager
If we can agree on this, then a parrying dagger, certain hilts, and a rapier (used in a duel) might be worth parry points. But really, since damage can come from a giant fist, 20' long tentacle, or dragon claws, I don't see how the above tools would make a difference. At least, not like a shield would.
This approaches the a castle wall falls does it have to roll to hit you? No likely you make a DEX save to avoid it hitting you. When very large creatures attack it feels like it should be an area attack. Then you have to dodge it.

Sadrik said:
A large sized ogre gets -1 parry for being large so his base parry would be 8 (10 -1 size -1 DEX). Then if he had a large greatclub that would grant parry +4 (+2 for base, +1 for only one item, +1 for size). So total Parry would be 12. This is 1 point higher than the 11 AC the creature normally has.
The Ogre in the DM Basic rules wears hide armor and has a -1 dexterity modifier. I surmise that the stated AC11 assumes other factors, since Hide on a human would be AC11 absent other modifiers, and taking one away for dexterity should bring the character back to AC10.
Ah I missed this they have Hide (Medium armor) and so this would have reduced their parry by 1 again making them have 11 AC, the same AC they have in the book. I also did base 10 rather than 8+proficiency in the computation.
With proficiency Ogre Parry would be:
8 -1(DEX) -1(Medium armor) -1(size) +3(Proficiency 7HD) +4(Greatclub +2 base, +1 for single item, +1 for size) = DC 12 to hit if he dropped the club he would be DC 8 to hit. This method is if the proficiency gives the character their defensive training.
Alternatively the proficiency bonus could be linked to the proficiency in the weapon. Which someone proposed.
8 -1(DEX) -1(Medium armor) -1(size) +7(Greatclub +2 base, +1 for single item, +1 for size, +3 for Proficiency and 7HD) = DC 12 to hit if he dropped the club he would be DC 5 to hit.

Sadrik said:
Orich Starkhart said:
What do you think of my observation that the conventional AC may account for the wielding of a melee weapon, which can be accommodated by either:
a) the parry modifier to a weapon should be normalized to 0 for the melee weapons, while small and light weapons (e.g.: dagger) get -1, pole weapons (e.g.: spear, halberd) get +1,
So the ogre would be -1 while wielding a small weapon and -2 with a bow, +1 with a spear and +2 with a shield. This seems very reasonable. In this method you would never stack items you would only ever take the best defensive item.
Why no stacking? Usually not a problem, as many weapons would provide no modifier to parry, but if some weapon has +1 and the character wielding it also uses a shield they should get the benefit. Also note, if the base AC10 assumes the person is armed, then lacking a weapon implies -2 to parry, which could be made up by the bonus for carrying a shield alone.
This is a tangent to tacking these modifiers onto the standard AC rules to generate a similar feel to what I was proposing but not what I proposed as my idea above.

The unarmored character armed with a longsword had AC = 10+ dexterity modifier, with Parry based at 8, now it has Parry = 8 + prof + weapon parry bonus + dexterity modifier. Level 1-4 average dexterity person, unarmored and armed with longsword was AC10, becomes Parry 12 or 13 under Sadrik's Armor as DR and Parry
This is all true.
Though I think it might make more sense to have two values.
Defense (8+Prof+DEX+size-Armor) used when you wield nothing or are attacked with a ranged attack.
Parry (Defense+weapon+size) used while in melee combat.

One system I read about called that penalty "armor bypass". I suppose materials and workmanship would affect the bypass value, though in D&D 5 it might be appropriate to attack with disadvantage to model the attempt to bypass armor.
I got my DMG today and there is no DR per say in there, however, there is a damage threshold rule for tough objects. It is immune to damage from a single attack up to a certain amount of damage. Then if you equal or exceed it takes full damage from the attack.

To align the DR with this Damage Threshold what would have to happen?
 
A parry bonus from a weapon would be redundant with ranks (outdated term?) in a parry skill.
True, if we had a system that implemented such a skill. But D&D 5 doesn't seem to, and [MENTION=14506]Sadrik[/MENTION] didn't propose such a thing.
Although Sadrik may have defined them otherwise, I'd prefer to see:
Parry skill: one's ability to avoid taking damage.
Weapon parry bonus: an increased ability to avoid damage due to the design of a weapon.
Sure. Would you like to start a thread to develop this idea and how it would fit into combat in D&D 5 - or any other D&D?

You have a point that parrying with a melee weapon doesn't seem like it would be effective at all against a huge giant's fist, a tentacle, or dragon claws. Your parry skill would apply only against an attack that can be parried/blocked with an object - and yes, I agree, sometimes a shield could have effect when a weapon would not. Perhaps each step of size reduces the parry bonus - so parrying at +2 against other medium creatures' weapons becomes +0 against huge ones. Or, one can parry only up to one size larger, and that at a penalty. Perhaps there's a bonus against weapons of small size, especially wielded by creatures of a size smaller than the defender.

I see the sort of defense bonus proposed by Sadrik as related to both a weapon's abilities to
a) be used defensively to parry and block, maybe even just be an obstruction, and
b) pose a counter-threat to the attacker.
It's probably still appropriate to allow size differences to counter both of these - the Frost Giant above will find the human's longsword (much?) less of a threat than another human would.

Hit points are an "epic-ness meter". I like it.

OS
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
True, if we had a system that implemented such a skill. But D&D 5 doesn't seem to, and [MENTION=14506]Sadrik[/MENTION] didn't propose such a thing.
Yeah I thought about adding in the proficiency bonus to the mix. Makes sense to do so.

Perhaps it could be:
8 + Prof + DEX + Parry
Talking 5e, right? In which your armor class is a fixed number that your armor gives you, plus a DEX bonus? And your DEX save is your proficiency bonus plus your DEX bonus?

Here's a look behind the curtain, gang. AC is a skill. Dex saves are a skill. And I'm using the 3.5 definition. So, where are the skill ranks? They're the proficiency bonus.

AC = defense skill, but instead of proficiency, you use your armor points. Furthermore, every d20 roll for AC is 10. Check with Unearthed Arcana: AC can be run with a die instead of a fixed number.

DEX save = defense skill, by 5e definitions. This one increases with proficiency instead of armor type.

One of Sadrik's proposals
Parry class = 8 + Prof + DEX + Parry
Which is a hybrid between AC and Dex save.

This approaches the a castle wall falls does it have to roll to hit you? No likely you make a DEX save to avoid it hitting you.
An interesting question given HP's new role. There are three game-rule outcomes:
  1. The wall deals no damage.
  2. The wall deals some damage, but you don't drop to zero HP.
  3. The wall deals damage and you drop to zero HP.

Of these outcomes, only one has an in-game effect: character death. So what, exactly, is the difference between outcomes 1 and 2? Which defense skills, AC, Save, or Parry, apply to each? And if hit points are not required to represent injuries, why does option 1 exist?
 

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