D&D General Armour class and essentialism


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Voadam

Legend
Yeah, your character has plate armor on their character sheet and in your chosen artwork is wearing an open white blouse with puffy sleeves and a little red vest because he's a pirate. Mechanically you gain the benefits and penalties of Plate Armor. For RP purposes it's Blouse o'Clock.
That's a lot bigger stretch than visualizing that a leather outfit is leather armor or that Warduke is wearing plate mail.

1648914265546.png

Different people are going to be comfortable with different levels of abstraction and connection for what they are comfortable with in their visualization.

Some are fine with the party of heavy armor fighter, leather clad rogue, plate and shield cleric, and wizard all being described as blouse wearing pirates, some of whom are slowed in movement and terrible at stealth and very vulnerable to heat metal.

Some will object to Warduke's plate armor type being linked with his image.

Some are fine with Warduke armor but not blouse mail.

None of the three are wrong, there are reasonable reasons to take any of those preference positions.
 


Remathilis

Legend
I'm pointing to a particular sort of essentialism - precise labels can get a bit contentious, but let's call it racial and/or cultural essentialism.

EDIT: @Charlaquin has made the same point not far upthread.
So my point is your picking one element of a larger issue. This isn't just about the monk's AC, it's about the interplay of class (representing certain cultural archetypes) and ability score essentialism. You're arguing that the monk's cultural element of the archetype reinforces certain essentialist elements of the culture in general (IE if all monks are Asian and all monks are wise, all Asians are wise, or if A=B and A=C, then B=C). I'm saying that the problem isn't just B=C, it's that A=B and A=C in the first place. So the best way to fix this is to break the link between class and specific cultures and to break the link between classes and specific ability scores. That is two sacred cows that would need to go, but it is better than half-measures.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
If "fluff it" is the answer than every class should have identical stats. I dont think it is myself.
This is called an argument to ridiculousness. It's a type of logical fallacy, and you should avoid it going forward.

It's also a specific form of strawman argument.

I am not suggesting we get rid of mechanical differences between classes. The mechanical differences remain. It's only the description that changes. Mechanics for Balance, Fluff for what it looks like.

As to what people are comfortable fluffing: That's gonna be entirely on them. If you're imagining a world where Dragons and Magic are real, but suspending game mechanic descriptions from storytelling is your issue that's a weird line to draw but it's yours to draw.

Fluffing and Refluffing are both incredibly powerful tools to use at the table. Especially for DMs who are forced, or choose, to improvise. Take The Mountain, for example.

The Mountain: Shael in the Scorpion Lands, Kronth among the Neasc, the Grisians call him Choq, while the Ipu and Annam know him as Uqweq. The Mountain is an uncaring god. He lives in his mountain alone, forging great and terrible things, then either discarding them or destroying them to use the materials anew in his next design. There is no great love or joy in him, no deep hatred or violence. He would have to care to feel in such a way. Prayers to him often go ignored.

He is described as a massive bearded man in most cultures, with hair as white as snow. His skin is either deep brown or black, and his eyes burn like embers. He has four arms that are used to hold metal and pound it as well, or perform multiple tasks at once. He wears armor, and wields weapons, in the rare event that he is forced to battle.

Combat Stats: Tarrasque. Just rename the different attacks to weapons. Claws are Axe and Sword, Horns is a Spear, Tail is a Flail. His Bite and Swallow remain unchanged. The Reflective Carapace is Mirror-Armor.

"The Tarrasque Mountain brings down its his mighty claws sword dealing 4d12+10 piercing slashing damage after it he rolled with a +19 to hit."

You don't need to tell your players that Warduke is wearing plate armor when you show them that image. Just let them try to hit his AC and see whether they manage it or not. Y'know?

And if they loot the body, just call it "Warduke's Armor" and offer no further explanation as to why it is as protective as plate armor. It just is.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I'm pointing to a particular sort of essentialism - precise labels can get a bit contentious, but let's call it racial and/or cultural essentialism.

EDIT: @Charlaquin has made the same point not far upthread.
So my point is your picking one element of a larger issue. This isn't just about the monk's AC, it's about the interplay of class (representing certain cultural archetypes) and ability score essentialism. You're arguing that the monk's cultural element of the archetype reinforces certain essentialist elements of the culture in general (IE if all monks are Asian and all monks are wise, all Asians are wise, or if A=B and A=C, then B=C). I'm saying that the problem isn't just B=C, it's that A=B and A=C in the first place. So the best way to fix this is to break the link between class and specific cultures and to break the link between classes and specific ability scores. That is two sacred cows that would need to go, but it is better than half-measures.
 

Quartz

Hero
Another approach is to grant an attribute-independent, level dependent bonus.

Yes. I allow the PC Fighter to use their Proficiency Bonus instead of their Dex bonus. So a PC in leather armour and no shield has an AC between 14 and 18. You might allow the Barbarian to use the PB instead of their Con bonus - but not both Dex and Con.
 

Or, or... hear me out here...

Fluff it.

Yeah, your character has plate armor on their character sheet and in your chosen artwork is wearing an open white blouse with puffy sleeves and a little red vest because he's a pirate. Mechanically you gain the benefits and penalties of Plate Armor. For RP purposes it's Blouse o'Clock.

You don't have to create a separate mechanic, here, if you're just willing to acknowledge that not every aspect of the system as presented needs to be presented in the game world. You don't have your fighter tell your cleric he's down 13 hit points and only needs a Cure Light Wounds in character. No. Instead he says "I'm alright. The goblin grazed me with the spear and I was bruised by that nasty fall, but you shouldn't expend your greater powers on me!"

Why is armor any different?

And it isn't -new-, either.

tumblr_py7mnkWJEF1xkd9eko1_400.jpg


You think Goldmoon was getting the armor bonus of leather from this loose suede blouse with a cut so low Elvira was checking her out? Heck no! For leather armor to be strong enough to stop any harm more severe than bacon grease spit it's got to be boiled and hardened into shaped plates. Those outfits wouldn't protect either of them from anything while adventuring. Not to mention the -chafing-.
I see what you're saying, but I treat art as strictly secondary (at best) to gameplay. If you're getting the benefits and penalties of plate, you're wearing plate. A blouse that did the same would be a magic item (albeit a neat one), and count as such.
 

payn

Legend
This is called an argument to ridiculousness. It's a type of logical fallacy, and you should avoid it going forward.
I'll take that under advisement if I actually think about doing that sometime.
It's also a specific form of strawman argument.
I am not suggesting we get rid of mechanical differences between classes. The mechanical differences remain. It's only the description that changes. Mechanics for Balance, Fluff for what it looks like.

As to what people are comfortable fluffing: That's gonna be entirely on them. If you're imagining a world where Dragons and Magic are real, but suspending game mechanic descriptions from storytelling is your issue that's a weird line to draw but it's yours to draw.

Fluffing and Refluffing are both incredibly powerful tools to use at the table. Especially for DMs who are forced, or choose, to improvise. Take The Mountain, for example.



"The Tarrasque Mountain brings down its his mighty claws sword dealing 4d12+10 piercing slashing damage after it he rolled with a +19 to hit."

You don't need to tell your players that Warduke is wearing plate armor when you show them that image. Just let them try to hit his AC and see whether they manage it or not. Y'know?

And if they loot the body, just call it "Warduke's Armor" and offer no further explanation as to why it is as protective as plate armor. It just is.
Actually, its not intended as a strawman at all. I was in a game this was allowed and everyone started wanting to take the best option and refluff as something else. One person wanted to use great sword stats, but say they were wielding a dagger... Which is why we dont allow it anymore.
 

This is called an argument to ridiculousness. It's a type of logical fallacy, and you should avoid it going forward.

It's also a specific form of strawman argument.

I am not suggesting we get rid of mechanical differences between classes. The mechanical differences remain. It's only the description that changes. Mechanics for Balance, Fluff for what it looks like.

As to what people are comfortable fluffing: That's gonna be entirely on them. If you're imagining a world where Dragons and Magic are real, but suspending game mechanic descriptions from storytelling is your issue that's a weird line to draw but it's yours to draw.

Fluffing and Refluffing are both incredibly powerful tools to use at the table. Especially for DMs who are forced, or choose, to improvise. Take The Mountain, for example.



"The Tarrasque Mountain brings down its his mighty claws sword dealing 4d12+10 piercing slashing damage after it he rolled with a +19 to hit."

You don't need to tell your players that Warduke is wearing plate armor when you show them that image. Just let them try to hit his AC and see whether they manage it or not. Y'know?

And if they loot the body, just call it "Warduke's Armor" and offer no further explanation as to why it is as protective as plate armor. It just is.
There are a lot of people who draw that line, and they have said on many occasions that there is a difference between blatant fantasy (like dragons and magic) and consensual pretending that the plate armor you're wearing is actually a pirate shirt. It's not that weird a line to draw.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I'll take that under advisement if I actually think about doing that sometime.

Actually, its not intended as a strawman at all. I was in a game this was allowed and everyone started wanting to take the best option and refluff as something else. One person wanted to use great sword stats, but say they were wielding a dagger... Which is why we dont allow it anymore.
So long as he's willing to be treated as having both hands full while stabbing with the dagger that he can't easily hide or throw... I say go for it?

That's, like, sort of how 13th Age works, if you've ever played (or even heard) of it? Different classes do different damage with different weapons. Because the DPR is designed to about equal out if you're a rogue stabbing someone with a dagger or a fighter using a greatsword.

The issue, in the case you've provided, I feel isn't refluffing. The issue, there, was your party tried to min-max and fluff like they weren't, which apparently upset someone.
There are a lot of people who draw that line, and they have said on many occasions that there is a difference between blatant fantasy (like dragons and magic) and consensual pretending that the plate armor you're wearing is actually a pirate shirt. It's not that weird a line to draw.
Any line drawn by anyone is going to be entirely subjective and arbitrary, Micah. And thus weird to people who find it weird.

But, hey. That's your line to draw. And whether I find it weird or not it remains yours, and I'll respect it all the same.
 

payn

Legend
So long as he's willing to be treated as having both hands full while stabbing with the dagger that he can't easily hide or throw... I say go for it?

That's, like, sort of how 13th Age works, if you've ever played (or even heard) of it? Different classes do different damage with different weapons. Because the DPR is designed to about equal out if you're a rogue stabbing someone with a dagger or a fighter using a greatsword.

The issue, in the case you've provided, I feel isn't refluffing. The issue, there, was your party tried to min-max and fluff like they weren't, which apparently upset someone.

Any line drawn by anyone is going to be entirely subjective and arbitrary, Micah. And thus weird to people who find it weird.

But, hey. That's your line to draw. And whether I find it weird or not it remains yours, and I'll respect it all the same.
I have heard of 13th age, but not played. My take is that either you let players take whatever, and flavor however, or you have to mediate it somehow. Folks like myself who would want the mediation are both concerned with immersion and mechanics. I'd prefer the system to take that burden off my GM duties personally. Though, you are correct this is a subjective perspective and likely many tables wouldn't have a min/max problem with it. Also, many tables would be ok with a paper, rock, scissor approach where items don't matter at all and class contains all the mechanics. I think I would prefer that approach myself to policing 5E or other close fantasy derivatives. YMMV.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I have heard of 13th age, but not played. My take is that either you let players take whatever, and flavor however, or you have to mediate it somehow. Folks like myself who would want the mediation are both concerned with immersion and mechanics. I'd prefer the system to take that burden off my GM duties personally. Though, you are correct this is a subjective perspective and likely many tables wouldn't have a min/max problem with it. Also, many tables would be ok with a paper, rock, scissor approach where items don't matter at all and class contains all the mechanics. I think I would prefer that approach myself to policing 5E or other close fantasy derivatives. YMMV.
Nothing in the world makes me sadder in myself with not being better versed in a wider variety of systems than statements like this... I would love to just pull out alternatives hand over hand just to offer you various systems, even to just slap them into 5e if it made you happy.

And yeah, I largely agree. It's gonna be based on the table. I just put it in the thread not as a "Shut up, everyone, and do this!" but as more of an "This hasn't been mentioned and can be a great way to do it so someone should say it and show how it's always been an option" post.

I worry I may have miscommunicated that in my first post.
 

Arilyn

Hero
I have found the reskinning, refluffing and ability to swap around class features in 13th Age solves a lot of problems. It's also very freeing.
 

payn

Legend
Nothing in the world makes me sadder in myself with not being better versed in a wider variety of systems than statements like this... I would love to just pull out alternatives hand over hand just to offer you various systems, even to just slap them into 5e if it made you happy.

And yeah, I largely agree. It's gonna be based on the table. I just put it in the thread not as a "Shut up, everyone, and do this!" but as more of an "This hasn't been mentioned and can be a great way to do it so someone should say it and show how it's always been an option" post.

I worry I may have miscommunicated that in my first post.
I likely overacted myself to bad experiences with this. I might have taken this as a general recommendation as opposed to a specific one. It's all good I'm happy to discuss it and glad you brought it up.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Yes changing the description of things only works if it's not used to bypass rules. A DM could allow a lightning-themed Wizard to have a "Shock Sphere"- a Fireball that deals Lightning damage, but it is still basically a fireball. Or the classic "my son, the Fire Archon", where a developer in a home game let his son play a "monster" that was actually just a Rogue, save that their attacks did fire damage. Oh did I perform a quick escape? Instead you vanish in a puff of smoke.

I played a game with a barroom brawler whose "sword" was a broken beer bottle and whose "shield" was a broken bar stool. It didn't cause any waves.

I also once played in a desert themed campaign where everyone was a human- you could still play other races, but now instead of being an Elf you were a "thin, agile human", instead of being a Halfling you were a child hero, that sort of thing. It still created a few oddities like, why did being thin and agile let me see in the dark, but overall, it didn't impact the game much.

Now if someone says, like payn pointed out, I have a dagger that does greatsword damage, that starts to step on game balance, and the DM had better watch out. Or allowing a "thunderball" instead of a Fireball- then you have to ask yourself how often resistance/immunity/vulnerability to thunder comes up, and if that's something you are willing to accept.

I don't actually engage in changing the descriptions of things myself often as a player- I'm usually happy to work my creativity around what the books say. But as a DM, I don't mind it at all, if it helps my players out. A thematic spellcaster who focuses on one element is something you see a lot in fiction, but the game doesn't really support this. Most of the best damage spells are fire- sometimes there's a good reason for this, sometimes not.

A radiant Flame Blade sounds cool as heck, but you have to ask yourself if that's going to cause problems down the road. A
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
This is called an argument to ridiculousness. It's a type of logical fallacy, and you should avoid it going forward.

It's also a specific form of strawman argument.

Reductio ad Absrudum is a valid logical argument. It's just soo dang hard to set up correctly that usually the implementation makes the attempt into a logical fallacy instead of a sound logical argument. The absurdum part can quickly morph into a strawman if the rest of the argument wasn't properly set up. (On a side note: most people incorrectly call sound reductio ad absurdum arguments strawmen even when they are not).
 

Voadam

Legend
You don't need to tell your players that Warduke is wearing plate armor when you show them that image. Just let them try to hit his AC and see whether they manage it or not. Y'know?

And if they loot the body, just call it "Warduke's Armor" and offer no further explanation as to why it is as protective as plate armor. It just is.
Warduke is a pregen PC in that module, it is XL1 Quest for the Heartstone, so you do have to tell the PCs as they look over their options. :)
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Just tell them he's so awesome he doesn't need armor, it's just so Strongheart doesn't feel bad.

I used to have Warduke's toy as a kid, I wonder what happened to it?
 


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