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5E Damaging Armor

Grazzt

Demon Lord
Ideas for damaging armor and shields? I know the PHB says DM can set AC and hit points for them, but rather than do that, I'd like to come up with something else.

A game I'll be running, the PCs run across at least one leucrotta. Already converted it, and trying to find the best way to do it's 1e/2e armor and shield damaging bite. In those editions, the item simply made a save vs. crushing blow. Ideas/methods I've thought about:

* Mimic the rust monster's attack; deal a cumulative -1 penalty to armor/shield with each bite. Item can be repaired (for a cost) since it's really just damage and not rust.
* Mimic the rust monster's attack but only if the leucrotta scores a critical hit (and it deals a -2 penalty to the armor/shield instead of -1) but this may not even come up at all since monsters are designed to not live that long necessarily.
* Assign hit points to armor/shield. Don't really want to do this. Yes, more "realistic" (and we use it more or less in our main 3.x E6 game), but I don't necessarily want to use it in our 5e game.
 

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Erik42

First Post
I've always ruled that critical hits have a chance to damage armor equal to the amount of damage. The result of the damage is generally of reduction of effectiveness of 1 until it is repaired.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
One way to mimic the save vs. crushing blow might be to have the armorbearer make a Dex or Str save (representing twisting so that the bite doesn't damage the item, or keeping the leucrotta's jaws apart when it bites down). It's Another Roll, but it might be closer to the in-play vibe of the original. The shield is ruined on the first failed save, the armor on the next.

The way I'd personally probably go: substances are given AC's in the DMG. Iron/Steel is AC 19. If leuie hits an AC of 19, shield gets wrecked, then armor gets wrecked. Wood and bone is 15, which also seems a good starting point for leather gear/druid's wooden shield/etc. These don't rely on a crit, and it's not unreasonable to have monsters hitting that AC on a pretty regular basis.

Mimicing the rust monster's attack seems like too much tracking for me personally (as does object hit points), so while it works, it's a bit fiddly. Just wreck the thing! This is 5e, as a general rule, we don't need to be precious about someone's gear anymore.

You might also want to consider what CR you put the leucrotta at. Put it a bit lower than the PC's level, and a pack of the things can mob the party, vastly increasing your crit potential.
 
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Li Shenron

Legend
* Mimic the rust monster's attack; deal a cumulative -1 penalty to armor/shield with each bite. Item can be repaired (for a cost) since it's really just damage and not rust.
* Mimic the rust monster's attack but only if the leucrotta scores a critical hit (and it deals a -2 penalty to the armor/shield instead of -1) but this may not even come up at all since monsters are designed to not live that long necessarily.
* Assign hit points to armor/shield. Don't really want to do this. Yes, more "realistic" (and we use it more or less in our main 3.x E6 game), but I don't necessarily want to use it in our 5e game.

I would go with the first idea. I don't think HP would be more realistic, armor increases AC mostly because it covers the creature, so the creature's effect might be that of stripping away your armor one piece at a time, thus manifesting gradually but starting as soon as the first hit. HP would have no effect until 0.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I plan on letting my players mitigate damage by choosing to have their armor, shields, or weapons take the damage, using the object hp rules from the DMG.

If the armor, shields, or weapons survive the encounter, they can be repaired a variable number of hp during a short rest.
 

Mephistopheles

First Post
* Mimic the rust monster's attack; deal a cumulative -1 penalty to armor/shield with each bite. Item can be repaired (for a cost) since it's really just damage and not rust.

Oozes also use a similar mechanic to handle item damage (weapons, in that case) so I think this option would be a consistent choice.
 

the Jester

Legend
I have taken to a "wear point" system. Various things inflict a wear point on various items; basically, the way I do it is that 1 wear point is cosmetic damage; 2 wear points give the item a -1 to whatever is applicable; and 3 wear points destroys the item. Some items might get extra wear points at the "just cosmetic" stage, and others might get a save to avoid gaining a wear point, but that's the general deal. I find it adapts well to many different situations.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I have taken to a "wear point" system. Various things inflict a wear point on various items; basically, the way I do it is that 1 wear point is cosmetic damage; 2 wear points give the item a -1 to whatever is applicable; and 3 wear points destroys the item. Some items might get extra wear points at the "just cosmetic" stage, and others might get a save to avoid gaining a wear point, but that's the general deal. I find it adapts well to many different situations.

Hmm, like Exhaustion for items! Not bad! WAY less fiddly than -1's, but more granular than "wreck the thing."
 

Paraxis

Explorer
Personally this type of thing isn't for me and my game, but if I was to want something like this I would put it in the players hands, when they take a critical hit they can turn it into a normal hit by damaging their AC and reducing the value by 1, until a later time when they can get the armor repaired.

But honestly doesn't the mending cantrips existence kind of make any system like this pointless.
 



I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Mending works on damaged things, but not destroyed things, IIRC. So it would probably work on rust monster stuff, too. But, y'know, it's not that great of a cantrip most of the time, so I'm cool letting it work wonderbar here! Reward that person who took it!
 

Mephistopheles

First Post
I think it'd be fine to allow mending to fix the damaged shields and armour and wouldn't make it irrelevant: there is the risk that a character could take multiple hits during the combat. Taking enough hits to lose armour doesn't seem too likely; losing a shield, however, could be - characters may choose not to use them against these creatures once they see what's up. This could add a different dimension of tension to a situation.
 

pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

In my home-brewed system I call "Fantasy Elements", I came up with a system that I call "CPAGMEL" ("See-Pagmell"). Those are 'quality levels'; Crap, Poor, Average, Good, Masterwork, Exquisite, Legendary. Average is the baseline, obviously, and going down *quickly* denegrates the item...going up is not linear. The cool thing about this system is that it's used for ALL equipment. It does, however, rely most heavily in DM adjudication of something. Rolling natural 1's isn't an automatic downgrade, and getting your sword sharpened from an expert weaponsmith doesn't automatically upgrade. This system makes it easy for a DM to add those little "story things" that go on in, well, stories, but rarely in an RPG. For example, a party of adventurers slogging through a swamp for 5 days may have all their footwear "reduced by one Quality Level"; so if everyone had Average QL boots, they are now Poor QL boots. If they get reduced again, they go to Crap QL. If reduced yet again, they are destroyed and beyond any use.

Anyway...I have toyed with that for D&D, but I'm still unsure; D&D was never really about all that stuff. If focuses on heroic'ish adventures, delving into deep caves, slaying dragons and taking their treasure. Worrying about equipment degredation seems a bit off in it. That said...if you can find a PDF or hardcopy of Kenzer & Co's Hackmaster 4th Edition (the first one, not the latest), it has rules for armor and shield "hit points".

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Ahrimon

Bourbon and Dice
For me systems like that only make sense if they're consistent. The Leuk-whatever can destroy sheilds and armor by biting it, but the dragon doesn't? Getting hit by the Titan's warhammer doesn't do anything but a narrative scratch, but the dog thing can crunch right though?

Give it an acid bite that damages armor and I'd buy it.

Some of the proposed, whole game, ideas above aren't too shabby though. Not my default taste in a game, but not shabby.
 

Nebulous

Legend
I would go with the first idea. I don't think HP would be more realistic, armor increases AC mostly because it covers the creature, so the creature's effect might be that of stripping away your armor one piece at a time, thus manifesting gradually but starting as soon as the first hit. HP would have no effect until 0.

I would too. It's simple and easy to implement and instantly becomes the monster's schtick.
 

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