D&D 5E Cyberpunk Armor in D&D

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
Wanted to do something interesting for some of my bad guys, and I thought about borrowing Cyberpunk-style armor for a D&D bad guy. Mechanically, armor in Cyberpunk doesn't make you harder to hit, it makes you harder to hurt. Armor's Stopping Power (SP) reduces the damage you take. When damage gets through, it reduces the SP by one. So I figured this is a great time to double-dip.

Mechanically, I'd like to do a wizard with an AC of 20 (using an upgunned mage armor spell that means he can't cast shield). If you hit, you subtract 20 from the damage. If this would reduce the damage to or below zero, nothing happens. If any damage penetrates, it reduces the wizard's AC by 1. The AC is still subtracted from any damage dealt by AoE spells, but also ablated in the same way.

Narratively, we see this as something like ERA, detonating to blunt enemy attacks.

Do we have anything on "average PC damage" that I can use to test how effective this would be against the PCs?

Party composition are a monk (Mercy), barbarian (Bear Totem), rogue (Swashbuckler), sorcerer (Aberrant Mind), and cleric (Twilight). They are all 17th level, all have attack bonuses upward of +14, and all have double feats. However, based on when I plan to drop this guy, I suspect that most of the 8th and 9th level slots will be gone, and they'll probably be around half hp. I plan to drop this mage with an upgraded archmage spell list and three (reskinned) fire giants.
 

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Clint_L

Legend
I assume this would be a level 20 wizard? Because that is incredibly powerful!

Average PC damage really depends. But reducing an attack by 20 basically negates an entire hit, and since you haven't limited the humber of times it can work, that I can see, this hypothetical wizard would be tougher than most tanks, especially given that most D&D fights are only a few rounds long.

Let's say the Wizard suffers ten hits. That mage armour will have absorbed up to 155 HP of damage, at the cost of a single spell. Maybe as a level 9 spell?
 

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
Let's say the Wizard suffers ten hits. That mage armour will have absorbed up to 155 HP of damage, at the cost of a single spell. Maybe as a level 9 spell?
Oh, learning the spell is absolutely not on the table. This is a consumed scroll from Ye Olden Times that this wizard is using. And yeah, he would be the equivalent of a level 20 wizard.

Can I ask where the 15.5 damage assumption came from?

As to the power of the spell you pointed out, that's awesome! That's exactly the reaction I want from my players. Thank you so much!
 



Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Wanted to do something interesting for some of my bad guys, and I thought about borrowing Cyberpunk-style armor for a D&D bad guy. Mechanically, armor in Cyberpunk doesn't make you harder to hit, it makes you harder to hurt. Armor's Stopping Power (SP) reduces the damage you take. When damage gets through, it reduces the SP by one. So I figured this is a great time to double-dip.

Mechanically, I'd like to do a wizard with an AC of 20 (using an upgunned mage armor spell that means he can't cast shield). If you hit, you subtract 20 from the damage. If this would reduce the damage to or below zero, nothing happens. If any damage penetrates, it reduces the wizard's AC by 1. The AC is still subtracted from any damage dealt by AoE spells, but also ablated in the same way.

Narratively, we see this as something like ERA, detonating to blunt enemy attacks.

Do we have anything on "average PC damage" that I can use to test how effective this would be against the PCs?

Party composition are a monk (Mercy), barbarian (Bear Totem), rogue (Swashbuckler), sorcerer (Aberrant Mind), and cleric (Twilight). They are all 17th level, all have attack bonuses upward of +14, and all have double feats. However, based on when I plan to drop this guy, I suspect that most of the 8th and 9th level slots will be gone, and they'll probably be around half hp. I plan to drop this mage with an upgraded archmage spell list and three (reskinned) fire giants.
I love this idea! I've deeply missed damage reduction. One of 3e's best ideas.
 

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
I love this idea! I've deeply missed damage reduction. One of 3e's best ideas.
I thought so, too. When I saw it in Cyberpunk RED, I thought, "Hello, old friend." And because it ablates with damage, it creates a death spiral for the bad guy. You can act with impunity up front, but once you start getting worn down, it's time for the pain train, baby.
 

Oofta

Legend
I dislike damage reduction because you nerf some monsters while only moderately affecting others. An enemy that relies heavily on multiple attacks is likely going to never do any damage while one that has one or two big hits is still okay. For example a White Greatwyrm from Fizban's Treasury of Dragons is a CR 27 monster. It gets 3 attack and legendary actions but the bite averages out at 21 points of damage, the other attacks are less. It's legendary action does 22 damage. The monster is about as effective as a house cat. Only things that do spell or elemental damage are going to do anything to this PC.

Maybe there's some variation - such as a limit to how much damage reduction you can get in a round - but personally I don't think it's worth it. At that point just give them 20 temp HP at the start of their turn.
 

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
I dislike damage reduction because you nerf some monsters while only moderately affecting others. An enemy that relies heavily on multiple attacks is likely going to never do any damage while one that has one or two big hits is still okay. For example a White Greatwyrm from Fizban's Treasury of Dragons is a CR 27 monster. It gets 3 attack and legendary actions but the bite averages out at 21 points of damage, the other attacks are less. It's legendary action does 22 damage. The monster is about as effective as a house cat. Only things that do spell or elemental damage are going to do anything to this PC.

Maybe there's some variation - such as a limit to how much damage reduction you can get in a round - but personally I don't think it's worth it. At that point just give them 20 temp HP at the start of their turn.
I guess I'm confused by your feedback. This is something I'm applying to a monster, not a PC.
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
4e designers debated whether to use damage reduction. They decided either AC or damage reduction can work fine, but the combo breaks the game quickly.

For a magic item, I would treat this armor like temporary hit points. If the armor gets "killed" the magic item is destroyed. But if it remains "alive" it can regenerate slowly.
 

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