Dark Sun: Metal is inherently worse?

twilsemail

Visitor
Alright. Here's my dilemma. I'm starting play in a Dark Sun game rather soon and I've come across a conundrum. Metal is inherently worse than the other materials you can make weapons/armor out of as far as I can tell.

Metal weapons function as normal.
Bone/obsidian/other materials function as metal but also have the weapon breakage rule.

Chitin/horn/bone armor functions as Metal armor.
Metal armor grants a -5 to your survivability in Athas.

What reason is there to wear metal armor or use a metal weapon when the "lesser quality" materials help you out more or hinder you less?
 

P1NBACK

Adventurer
Alright. Here's my dilemma. I'm starting play in a Dark Sun game rather soon and I've come across a conundrum. Metal is inherently worse than the other materials you can make weapons/armor out of as far as I can tell.

Metal weapons function as normal.
Bone/obsidian/other materials function as metal but also have the weapon breakage rule.

Chitin/horn/bone armor functions as Metal armor.
Metal armor grants a -5 to your survivability in Athas.

What reason is there to wear metal armor or use a metal weapon when the "lesser quality" materials help you out more or hinder you less?
Well, for weapons, metal is more durable as far as reckless breakage goes. Metal weapons only break on a re-roll if you roll under 5 on the re-roll. This means, metal weapons are actually VERY good because you can re-roll on every 1 with only a 25% chance of breaking them. Re-rolling is pretty powerful. (non-metal weapons break no matter what you roll on the re-roll)

I agree with you on armor though. What I'm planning to do is make all metal armor "magic" and give it an enhancement bonus of +1 to +5 or whatever.
 

Stumblewyk

Adventurer
Metal armor on Athas = bad idea.

Metal weapons on Athas = awesome.

You're looking at the Weapon Breakage rule the wrong way - yes, you get to re-roll your attack if you roll a 1, but if you do, you're going to lose that weapon. Not so if it's a metal weapon. You likely won't lose your weapon. That's a Good Thing.

(Also, just noticed you're from Bryn Mawr. Rock on. I grew up in MontCo, PA, and my son was born at the Bryn Mawr hospital.)
 

keterys

Visitor
If you have a source of rerolls or are an avenger, metal weapons are very nice since you can just take the reroll and then use a different reroll if it comes up that it would actually break. Makes it very unlikely, anyways.

And hey, when you hit that 1 in 64 chance, they all get to laugh at you ;)

Metal armor was never a good idea in Athas. That said, by the time you have metal armor you're probably paragon anyways, so the survival checks may be a lot less of an issue.
 

twilsemail

Visitor
everyone said:
You can use reckless breakage with a metal weapon.
How'd I miss that? Thanks everyone. I think the "Fumbling Breakage" above threw me off.

Metal armor was never a good idea in Athas. That said, by the time you have metal armor you're probably paragon anyways, so the survival checks may be a lot less of an issue.
I can see why Metal armor is a bad idea. I've been in the desert and have seen the results of overheating far too many times. That said, the bone/horn/whatever armor is supposed to be sub-optimal materials. As it stands there purely better than metal and there's no reason that anyone would ever wear the metal gear and take that penalty.

OK, no reason outside of mind-control.

Metal armor is supposed to be precious/impressive (or at least so I've been led to believe). Why wouldn't everyone just laugh at someone for wearing metal armor?
 

Stumblewyk

Adventurer
They wouldn't laugh, because they'd be too busy trying to wipe the dollar signs out of their field of vision. Think of metal armor as a luxury piece - something you'd display (if you're wealthy and powerful enough to do so) to show others - "Look what I have. Yeah." You'd never wear it, but to own it shows status - mostly because that armor (and likely a metal weapon) pre-dates the current age and would be considered a great treasure. To wear it would be a nightmare, and foolish. Because you'd be mugged, beaten, robbed of your armor, and left for dead before you walked 50 feet out your front door.
 
That said, the bone/horn/whatever armor is supposed to be sub-optimal materials. As it stands there purely better than metal and there's no reason that anyone would ever wear the metal gear and take that penalty.
I'm considering using an armor breakage rule. If you get hit with a crit, you lose a point of AC from the armor (the bone is chipped away, the chiten is crushed, etc) until it can be repaired. I'm having trouble rationalizing it with armor that isn't traditionally metal though (such as hide or leather). Perhaps I'll put a cap on the amount of AC that a give piece of armor can lose.

If you aren't in the heat of Athas, I wouldn't apply the -5 penalty. So if you are adventuring at night, underground, or anywhere outside of the heat, you can wear that metal armor.
 

P1NBACK

Adventurer
I'm considering using an armor breakage rule. If you get hit with a crit, you lose a point of AC from the armor (the bone is chipped away, the chiten is crushed, etc) until it can be repaired. I'm having trouble rationalizing it with armor that isn't traditionally metal though (such as hide or leather). Perhaps I'll put a cap on the amount of AC that a give piece of armor can lose.

If you aren't in the heat of Athas, I wouldn't apply the -5 penalty. So if you are adventuring at night, underground, or anywhere outside of the heat, you can wear that metal armor.
This is an interesting idea. Make sure to give the players options to repair I'd think.

I'd say leather and hide gets shredded, ripped, gashed, etc...
 

Spatula

Explorer
I can see why Metal armor is a bad idea. I've been in the desert and have seen the results of overheating far too many times. That said, the bone/horn/whatever armor is supposed to be sub-optimal materials.
Sub-optimal compared to what, though? No one wears metal armor on Athas, so the non-metal armors become the baseline. If a suit of metal armor was discovered in some ruins, it would be turned into something that Athasians could actually use.
 
I'm considering using an armor breakage rule. If you get hit with a crit, you lose a point of AC from the armor (the bone is chipped away, the chiten is crushed, etc) until it can be repaired. I'm having trouble rationalizing it with armor that isn't traditionally metal though (such as hide or leather). Perhaps I'll put a cap on the amount of AC that a give piece of armor can lose.
Make it a choice like reckless breakage. On a critical, give the player the option to take the extra damage or reduce the effectiveness of the armor. The armor can be repaired during an extended rest (no need for a skill check). Metal armor is not subject to that effect.
 

MarkB

Legend
Make it a choice like reckless breakage. On a critical, give the player the option to take the extra damage or reduce the effectiveness of the armor. The armor can be repaired during an extended rest (no need for a skill check). Metal armor is not subject to that effect.
Or make it completely mirror weapon breakage. Choosing to use Reckless Defense obliges the attacker to re-roll their attack, but damages the armour. In metal armour, the armour is only damaged if the re-rolled attack hits.
 

Ahrimon

Bourbon and Dice
Metal weapons and armor are considered masterwork. They're all a minimum of +2. It's not that metal is worse. It's that they've slid the scale. Bone/obsidian/chitin is moved up from inferior to normal and metal is moved up to masterwork +2. Since it's done across the board there's no need for rules to model inferior materials and metal becomes awesome. Well, maybe not so much for armor...
 
Or make it completely mirror weapon breakage. Choosing to use Reckless Defense obliges the attacker to re-roll their attack, but damages the armour. In metal armour, the armour is only damaged if the re-rolled attack hits.
This would suck on the player side, possibly turning a crit into a miss. I'd say force a re-roll and lose a point of AC. If the attack hits, the crit is confirmed. Otherwise, it's just a normal hit.

There is another issue as well: what about Non-AC Defenses. Chipping away at the armor is obvious. Chipping away at the amulet... that's stretching things.

I'm positive there is an interesting and workable rule in this idea, we just aren't too it yet.
 

Vanifae

Visitor
I would add that metal armor is not inherently useless but obviously walking around the desert in it would be suicidal. In cooler indoor environments metal armor is still a form of masterwork armor that could be very effective.

Of course story/RP wise it could bring about way too much attention and enemies to be worthwhile but that is a bridge the PCs will have to cross on their own.
 
If you have a source of rerolls or are an avenger, metal weapons are very nice since you can just take the reroll and then use a different reroll if it comes up that it would actually break. Makes it very unlikely, anyways.
Of course, avengers aren't available in Dark Sun save for DM Fiat due to that whole pesky "no divine" thing.

But, yes, that would be a both effective and potentially hilarious combo. :)

Brad
 

Mustrum_Ridcully

Adventurer
I can see the weapon breakage used for shields, but for armor I find it less intriguing.

Shield Breakage: If you are hit with a critical hit, you can force the attacker to reroll the attack, but your shield is destroyed and rendered useless after the attack.
Metal Shields: Metal shields only break if the attacker rolles a 16 or higher on his reroll.
 

twilsemail

Visitor
Metal weapons and armor are considered masterwork. They're all a minimum of +2. It's not that metal is worse. It's that they've slid the scale. Bone/obsidian/chitin is moved up from inferior to normal and metal is moved up to masterwork +2. Since it's done across the board there's no need for rules to model inferior materials and metal becomes awesome. Well, maybe not so much for armor...
Dark Sun Campaign Setting p. 119 said:
Among the higher-level magic items, both metal and non-metal items exist. Magic metal armor also exists. Such items are of masterwork quality, with a minimum enhancement bonus of +2.
That seems to contradict what you said up there, Ahrimon.

Having spoken to my DM, there would be situational bonuses and penalties when wearing metal armor. I've also pointed him at this thread to take a look at the ongoing suggestions of ENWorld.
 

TheClone

Visitor
I like the armor and shield breakage rules both. Just consider how complicated it gets, but it should be okay. But I don't like the weapon breakage rules that much. The possibility that it is used is really small. It must be an important attack (like bringing don the enemy when you hp are low) or with a rare ability (a daily or maybe a good encounter power). Then you need a 1, too. Both in combination will happen really seldom. And you won't use it if have no equally good backup weapons (here the inheritant enhancement bonus rule helps much). I guess I'll revise it, but I don't know how yet.

By the way, has wizards considered the fact that broken weapons need to be repaired in the treasure tables? I think not. But repairing an item costs 20% of the original price and given the fact that gold is more or less seldom given out as treasure, this is quite a lot or forces the players to sell magic items.
 

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