Armour Class Variant

Swedish Chef

Explorer
Recently, one of my players suggested adopting the 4ED rule of increasing natural armour class based on level (base 10 +1/2 level). He feels that monsters above CR5 or so have so many pluses to hit that they never miss the players.

My counter was several points:

1) The party has to option to improve AC by purchasing better armour. They tend to get chain shirts and stop there, not wanting to take any Dex or other penalties from higher armour.
2) The party has the option to use buff spells. Neither the cleric nor the sorcerer ever memorize them. The sorcerer will occasionally use mage armour.
3) Monster ACs tend not to dramatically increase for most of them, matching the party's lack of increase.
4) Party continues to increase BAB to help compensate as well, and they do upgrade their weapons on a regular basis.

Has anyone adopted this mechanism for 3.5? If so, what were your experiences?

Any one else have thoughts either for or against?

SC
 

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Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
If you haven't already seen it, here's a 3.5e UA variant precursor to that 4e rule, the Defense Bonus. It gives a little metagame discussion-- including noting that PCs' touch ACs tend to go up, so that might be something to consider.

I've never used this system, but it looks like it would blend in well enough with armor, as long as you don't let the them stack (ie, the defense bonus is an armor bonus, rather than the natural armor proposed by your players). That way, a PC can choose to use no/little armor, but can also choose to just use heavier armor if he wants to, for example for thematic reasons, or if he wants to use a nice magic item.

IN any event, it seems like an OK way to let the PCs have what they want, without troubling your campaign too much. Hopefully someone who's actually got experience with this system will have suggestions.
 
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Sekhmet

First Post

This.

Also, if you want to be a defensive character, your AC will beat most regular sized creature's attack bonus without problem.
Even at later levels, the Balor has a +31 on his first hit. I've seen plenty of defensive based characters hit 45-50AC or better, which means the Balor only has a 25% chance or less to hit on his BEST attack, and only a 5% on iterative attacks.

Factor in Combat Expertise (synergised with Tumble) and you're mid 50's or better - the Balor will ONLY have a 5% chance on any given strike.


With the same argument, the Balor (AC35) against a typical fighter of his CR (level 20) will be against a +5 weapon, +5 Strength (or better) , +20 BAB Fighter (not factoring any other bonus). The fighter has a +30 to hit, which means he has a 75% chance to hit the Balor.

75% vs. 5%... hmm....


Leave AC alone - there is plenty of AC boosting equipment out there that allows for plenty of mitigation.

Please note that I am not going into other forms of defense (Blink, Displacement, etcetera), because that gives an even FURTHER edge to the players.
 

Swedish Chef

Explorer
Dandu - in defense of the sorcerer, the player is a 16 year old girl (the daughter of another player) and she's still learning the ropes. She's playing the sorcerer as a pyromaniac, and her first reaction in any battle is usually to try and set something on fire. Sometimes it works, sometimes spending an extra round casting Mage Armour is better. She'll hopefully figure it out as play goes on.

Theo - I hadn't seen that, but it is interesting. As the party is spending most time outdoors, they tend to prefer their armour, but this option is definitely worth looking into.

Sekhmet - that's basically my point. 3.5ed allows the characters to dramatically increase their armour class in a number of ways. The player's just aren't familiar with them all (and neither am I), and tend to not want to use the options that they are aware of.
 

Dandu

First Post
Ok, but Mage Armor lasts for hours... even 16 year old girls have enough mental capabilities between texting their friends and swooning over Justin Bieber to set up defenses beforehand.
 


Sekhmet

First Post
Sekhmet - that's basically my point. 3.5ed allows the characters to dramatically increase their armour class in a number of ways. The player's just aren't familiar with them all (and neither am I), and tend to not want to use the options that they are aware of.

If you'd like to give everyone a bit of Natural AC (1/2 character level), and you recognize that the monsters in the 3.5 MM are not structured to take that into account (most things of your CR will suddenly have a much lower chance to hit you), then go for it.

The AC variant suggested in an earlier post is a good one, just make sure it's known that it doesn't stack with armour - the Fighter will only ever get that +12, though he can get Vests and Shirts of AC that will help him magically - Full Plate will not help him at level 20.
 

Swedish Chef

Explorer
If you'd like to give everyone a bit of Natural AC (1/2 character level), and you recognize that the monsters in the 3.5 MM are not structured to take that into account (most things of your CR will suddenly have a much lower chance to hit you), then go for it.

The AC variant suggested in an earlier post is a good one, just make sure it's known that it doesn't stack with armour - the Fighter will only ever get that +12, though he can get Vests and Shirts of AC that will help him magically - Full Plate will not help him at level 20.

Sorry, it seems like I was arguing with you, but I'm not. I agree with you. I don't want to use the 4ED natural armour class option as I think it will be too overpowering for the game. The problem is the players don't want to use the defensive options that are available to them. I know that, in their defense, they are not aware of all the different options open (and neither am I) as none of us has time to spend hours combing through the various books to learn them all. I think only one of the players is even aware of the char-ops forums.

However, I want to be fair to them, which is why I'm asking for opinions and suggestions. There have been some good ones so far. I hope to see some more. We'll see what the players think. B-)
 

Swedish Chef

Explorer
Ok, but Mage Armor lasts for hours... even 16 year old girls have enough mental capabilities between texting their friends and swooning over Justin Bieber to set up defenses beforehand.

She doesn't want to waste the daily spell for defense if she can use it for setting something on fire. She doesn't quite grasp the fact that if the enemy hits her first, she may not get the chance to set anything on fire. :lol:
 



Sekhmet

First Post
I take this as a searing incitement of the American educational system.

It's funny because she's a pyromaniac and he said searing.
Ah-hah.


As for defensive options - perhaps consider making magic armour / vestments / shirts / bracers as part of your treasure rewards instead of weapons and gold. They'll use it because you gave it to them.
 


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