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D&D 5E Proficiency bonus based AC and armor as temp HP with reduced AC bonus?

The main idea is having a character's Proficiency bonus contribute more to their AC in a campaign where armor option are limited, restricted mostly to light and medium armor. Many characters therefore are going to be unarmored and armor's contribution to their AC is going to be reduced.

When it comes down to classes I see Fighters, Monks, Paladins and some Clerics having high AC based on class and proficiency bonuses, Barbarians, Clerics, Druids, Rangers and possibly Rogues being on the medium tier and every other class being on the lower tier unless they belong to a melee-combat focused subclass. With the 3 tiers in mind how would their proficiency bonus and Dex (or other ability score) bonus interact?

And though I said that armor was limited, it's not non-existent as it's for settings that are either less or more technologically advanced then the typically D&D campaign, breastplate is likely the best armour one could get for armour without getting a feat or belonging to a special subclass. I feel that if armour contributes to AC it's based score should be reduced because of the proficiency bonus. And wearing armor adds temporary hit points to the character, though it may be ruled that it's a special type of temp HP such as Armor HP. I only see the temp HP being in increments of 5, with heavier armors offering more temp HP. I've toyed with the idea that some armors might have a hardness or damage reduction. The temp HP of armor refreshes with a short rest, or a 1 minute Int check (proficiency armorer's kit).

There's also the possibility that some attacks might have the Armor-piercing quality, which might either bypass or do double damage to the temp HP.
 

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You could run armour as DR instead. Much less fiddly than Temp HP.

Light 2/-, Medium 3/- and Heavy 4/-. Or something like that.

If you really wanted to get fiddly, you could have Chain Mail provide an extra +1 vs Slashing (but -1 vs Bludgeoning) and so forth with different armours.

Then include the following rule:

''If your attack does not already have disadvantage from another source, you may make your attack roll at disadvantage. If the attack hits, you may ignore the DR granted by armour. ''

That simulates going for weak spots like visors and gaps in the armour etc.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I'd let everybody just be 8+prof+dex, unless you have another AC calculation (races, barb, monk etc). That's your ''to-hit'' number.
Shields still give +2 to AC.

Armors give special THP called Armor Points, they go first, then THP, then HP.

Light: 9 AP, no max dex.
Medium: 13 AP, max dex 2
Heavy: 21 AP, resistance to non-magical Slashing, disadvantage on Stealth and no dex to AC.

Restoring AP requires 30 minutes, with a check of 10+ the number of point you want to restore with a Int check made with Smith or Leather maker kit. You restore 1 AP per 1 over a result of 10 on the roll.
 

If you're going this route and want to keep it simple:

Make the base calculation for wearing armor you're proficient with 8 + prof + dex. This just flows with the rest of the rules better. However I would let characters proficient with heavy armor use either strength or constitution instead of dex so that you don't make dex even more of a 'must have' for all characters. If even paladins need a 14 dex, you'll only see rapiers and whips as melee weapons.

For the actual benefit of specific armors: I would just add to the character's base hit points rather than add a new category of hp. The amount could vary based on the cost of the armor (including how magical it is), ranging from +5 to +50 for epic-tier stuff. It'd be a lot of math to ensure balance with the existing numbers, but playtesting should get you there pretty quick if your players are willing to run a few scenarios.

You'd still want to work out how things like the defense fighting style and various armor feats work (or replace them with new options), but those shouldn't be too tricky. (the only one I foresee an issue with is Medium Armor Master, but that's a crappy feat already.)
 

I'm guessing some consideration needs to apply to Mage Armor and the Mending spell.

In many ways Mage Armor is just Light Armor, so it could work that way.
 

Dragongrief

Explorer
Maybe, maybe not for mage armor.

Depending how far you want to go with it, there are two main things that factor in: avoidance (current AC) and resistance/resilience (HP).

If something is mainly there to be a buffer when you get hit (most armors), then it's main benefit should be to resilience. To make sure it stays relevant, any bonuses should scale with level or proficiency.

If its effect is primarily to keep the attack away from you (shields, magic rings/cloaks), then it would apply to AC.
 

Quartz

Hero
Something with which I've toyed is allowing Fighters to use their Proficiency Bonus instead of Dex for AC, and possibly for Initiative later. This is in line with 'Hollywood Heroics' where the protagonists are usually lightly armoured. A PC can still have a max AC of 21 (Studded leather, shield, +6 PB, +1 Defensive style) without magic. But PCs can still don plate armour if necessary (for instance on a large battlefield, a PC might be denied her Dex / PB bonus and thus lose a lot of AC otherwise). I would extend this to allowing Palading to use similarly their Cha bonus instead of their Dex bonus.
 

jgsugden

Legend
An easier approach - at character creation you may elect to give up armor proficiency in exchange for a flat AC bonus when not wearing any armor. If you give up light, +2 (add dex) , if you give up medium, +5 (+ up to 2 from dex), and if you give up heavy, +7 (no dex allowed). If you give up heavy, you retain medium and light armor proficiencies. If you give up medium, you retain light.
 

Something with which I've toyed is allowing Fighters to use their Proficiency Bonus instead of Dex for AC, and possibly for Initiative later. This is in line with 'Hollywood Heroics' where the protagonists are usually lightly armoured. A PC can still have a max AC of 21 (Studded leather, shield, +6 PB, +1 Defensive style) without magic. But PCs can still don plate armour if necessary (for instance on a large battlefield, a PC might be denied her Dex / PB bonus and thus lose a lot of AC otherwise). I would extend this to allowing Palading to use similarly their Cha bonus instead of their Dex bonus.
That's an interesting idea, although it makes a Hexblade dip even sweeter for the paladin.
 

6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
Something with which I've toyed is allowing Fighters to use their Proficiency Bonus instead of Dex for AC, and possibly for Initiative later. This is in line with 'Hollywood Heroics' where the protagonists are usually lightly armoured. A PC can still have a max AC of 21 (Studded leather, shield, +6 PB, +1 Defensive style) without magic. But PCs can still don plate armour if necessary (for instance on a large battlefield, a PC might be denied her Dex / PB bonus and thus lose a lot of AC otherwise). I would extend this to allowing Palading to use similarly their Cha bonus instead of their Dex bonus.
It is an nice thought but IME light armored PCs typically have good (16) to great (20) DEX anyway.

It does help make DEX less of a "god-stat" though, which is always a good thing.

Sigh, time to mull over another house-rule... ;)
 

It is an nice thought but IME light armored PCs typically have good (16) to great (20) DEX anyway.
Isn't that because characters without at least a 16 dex never choose to wear light armor?

If you're a great-weapon fighter, you either wear heavy armor or take a major hit to AC under the current rules.
 


6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
Isn't that because characters without at least a 16 dex never choose to wear light armor?

If you're a great-weapon fighter, you either wear heavy armor or take a major hit to AC under the current rules.
If you're a great-weapon fighter you are already taking a hit to AC (no shield), and the trade-off is (in theory anyway) the additional damage you inflict.

Now, you can choose to wear medium or heavy armor (AC 17 with half-plate and DEX 14 which is reasonable, or 18 with plate). By contrast, Studded Leather with DEX 14 would be AC 14. Of course 3-4 points lower is a big deal, but again that is supposed of be the trade-off.

This sort of a rule would remove the trade-off, so you could max out AC 18 (eventually... most games don't get this far anyway).

EDIT: This would actually be a better feature for GWF style IMO than the minor bump to damage it offers. :)
 

If you're a great-weapon fighter you are already taking a hit to AC (no shield), and the trade-off is (in theory anyway) the additional damage you inflict.

Now, you can choose to wear medium or heavy armor (AC 17 with half-plate and DEX 14 which is reasonable, or 18 with plate). By contrast, Studded Leather with DEX 14 would be AC 14. Of course 3-4 points lower is a big deal, but again that is supposed of be the trade-off.

This sort of a rule would remove the trade-off, so you could max out AC 18 (eventually... most games don't get this far anyway).

EDIT: This would actually be a better feature for GWF style IMO than the minor bump to damage it offers. :)
That assumes that you have a 14+ dex score - when you're going to be wearing heavy armor anyways, you might have a 10. So now you're dropping to a 14 for scale mail or a 12 for studded leather - those are not small drops, especially since only that 12 (or a 13 with a chain shirt) has any upside (no disadvantage on stealth.) It's only a reasonable trade-off if 3 points of AC is comparable to not having disadvantage on stealth (while the rest of the game prices that at 1 point of AC - and most people don't take it at that cost).

The houserule opens options, which to me is always a good thing.
 


6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
That assumes that you have a 14+ dex score - when you're going to be wearing heavy armor anyways, you might have a 10. So now you're dropping to a 14 for scale mail or a 12 for studded leather - those are not small drops, especially since only that 12 (or a 13 with a chain shirt) has any upside (no disadvantage on stealth.) It's only a reasonable trade-off if 3 points of AC is comparable to not having disadvantage on stealth (while the rest of the game prices that at 1 point of AC - and most people don't take it at that cost).

The houserule opens options, which to me is always a good thing.
But you probably won't have DEX 10, unless you choose to wear heavy armor. If you aren't planing on wearing heavy armor, odds are your DEX will be 14 IME. I've only see one exception. So, if you are "strong" (assumable if you are using a great weapon and relying on STR) you can handle wearing medium and heavy armor, even if you have a more modest DEX.

Ok, I am all for house-rules and options, so let's look at this from a different angle:

Greatsword and studded leather, DEX 10, prof +6 so AC 18.
Greatsword and plate armor, DEX 10, no prof, so AC 18.

What incentive (if any) would the guy in plate armor have for wearing it? That makes no sense considering the whole point of armor evolving was because it made you harder to hurt. Now, I think upthread others mention things like DR, etc. so are you including that? (My apologies if I missed it, I only briefly skimmed the thread).
 

vivsavage

Explorer
I really like this idea in general. It would play very well with a Lord of the Rings campaign, where most of the characters aren't wearing armor (only Gimli and Frodo are said to wear any, while Boromir had a shield).
 

6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
It reminds me the Defense Bonus in d20 SW. I know others and myself have proposed systems like the OP and in some of the posts here, with Armor working as DR providing some depending on how much you want in your game. I think I suggested something like 1, 2, and 4 points for light, medium, and heavy armors. shrug
 

Part of my thinking for the different approach to AC and armor has to do with technology levels that are different from the typical D&D campaign.

For lower-tech or post-apocalyptic settings like Dark Sun, there was the idea of piecemeal armor. In that setting you couldn't necessarily get a full set armor, and just collected parts of armor together. Though it's system they added to AC, but under my house rule idea, I guess that would be something like: you have vambraces made from a large reptile that's 3 temp HP, and a chitin chestpiece from a Kank (giant ant-beetle) so that's like an additional 8 temp HP and a Tembo skull as a helmet for 4 temp HP.

For higher-tech settings where I get that Dex is probably even more important with the presence of firearms, armor was mostly abandoned in favour of mobility. There were elite soldiers such as Cuirassers who did wear breastplate armor, in Napolean's time they planned on breastplate being good enough to protect it's wearer from one gunshot (assuming a 1d12 musket), so I'm guessing it's around 15 temp hp. But things also depends if the genre is Flintlock-Fantasy, Victorian Gothic Horror (probably no one has armor beyond a stylish coat) or Steampunk (mechanical plate armor could be a thing).
 

But you probably won't have DEX 10, unless you choose to wear heavy armor. If you aren't planing on wearing heavy armor, odds are your DEX will be 14 IME. I've only see one exception. So, if you are "strong" (assumable if you are using a great weapon and relying on STR) you can handle wearing medium and heavy armor, even if you have a more modest DEX.

Ok, I am all for house-rules and options, so let's look at this from a different angle:

Greatsword and studded leather, DEX 10, prof +6 so AC 18.
Greatsword and plate armor, DEX 10, no prof, so AC 18.

What incentive (if any) would the guy in plate armor have for wearing it? That makes no sense considering the whole point of armor evolving was because it made you harder to hurt. Now, I think upthread others mention things like DR, etc. so are you including that? (My apologies if I missed it, I only briefly skimmed the thread).
At level 17+, presumably there's magic armor available, but if not - yeah, The epic-tier fighter has skin as tough as metal. I'm okay with this result.

If you're level is 16 or less - the tradeoff exists (although it varies).

Now, if that's too unrealistic - you probably don't like high-level play anyways for a whole host of reasons, even if low-level dnd is realistic enough for you (that is, barely). Realistic armor should be DR instead of making you harder to hit (which should be all dex-based), but that's a whole different houserule. Not a bad idea for one, but much harder to balance.

But I guess that's the main counterargument to the rule - it's designed to make armor less important, which is highly ahistorical.
 

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