D&D 5E Realistic/Historic armor for D&D (Homebrew)

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
unfortunately the description in the srd for breastplates specifically states completely unarmered besides the breastplate (though i always assume a helmet because benefit of the doubt)
Those descriptions specifically state all sorts of nonsense, but alright.
 

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Arch-Fiend

Explorer
Those descriptions specifically state all sorts of nonsense, but alright.

i do agree that an armor that is chainmail with a breastplate over top of it would be completely valid though, i just think it would work better as a combo armor and i didn't want to get into that kind of thing in my document, especially just for one armor.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
i do agree that an armor that is chainmail with a breastplate over top of it would be completely valid though, i just think it would work better as a combo armor and i didn't want to get into that kind of thing in my document, especially just for one armor.
Again, I think breastplate over a buff coat would be fine, and would probably read as unarmored besides the torso to most folk unfamiliar with armor, much like how brigandine reads as “studded leather.”
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
have you compared the armor protection of gambeson (which would be the best comparison to a buff coat) and that of a breastplate? i think that armor is also valid, but the rules for it would be more complex, better for a system using called shots or maybe something like this

touch ac +breastplate ac + gambeson ac, if you hit above touch ac but below breastplate, both AP's apply, if you hit above breastplate ac, gambeson AP applies. problems? how its applied to spells that dont roll to hit. maybe such case always counts as if there is an attack but it just rolls below the full armor class. so always applies to the armor with the highest full ac but im not sure that's a perfect solution. also yes obviously the weights would stack. id argue stacking armor works like the following

armors of the same type that stack become armor of the next level (light->medium->heavy) but armors of different types that stack do not become armor of the next level, though if you stack 3 armors (gambeson+leather+breastplate) the same type armors stack first becoming a next level armor and then that armor stacks with the 3rd armor.
 

dave2008

Legend
I feel you, but I agree with @BookBarbarian and @LordEntrails , that making armor more realistic (DR) doesn't make sense unless you do something about hit points. That is what we did (but much simpler than what you have). Here is what we use:

Armor provides AC & DR. AC as normal and DR = AC-10.
DR only comes into play when your "bloodied"
Your are bloodied when your HP = 0 and then all remain hits take damage from your bloodied hit points (BHP)
When your bloodied the damage you take on a hit = the damage rolled - your armors DR

So when a fighter wearing plate armor is reduced to 0 hp, each hit after will be: damage rolled - 8.

You could make this system more complex or "realistic" by revising AC and DR values, or different values for different damage types, or adding lingering injuries, crits damage BHP & HP, etc. We tried some variations, but this simple approach scratched our realism itch and was the most fun for us.
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
I feel you, but I agree with @BookBarbarian and @LordEntrails , that making armor more realistic (DR) doesn't make sense unless you do something about hit points. That is what we did (but much simpler than what you have). Here is what we use:

Armor provides AC & DR. AC as normal and DR = AC-10.
DR only comes into play when your "bloodied"
Your are bloodied when your HP = 0 and then all remain hits take damage from your bloodied hit points (BHP)
When your bloodied the damage you take on a hit = the damage rolled - your armors DR

So when a fighter wearing plate armor is reduced to 0 hp, each hit after will be: damage rolled - 8.

You could make this system more complex or "realistic" by revising AC and DR values, or different values for different damage types, or adding lingering injuries, crits damage BHP & HP, etc. We tried some variations, but this simple approach scratched our realism itch and was the most fun for us.

why exactly does making armor more realistic not work when you keep hitpoints the same? is it the idea that hitpoints are so high so while the armor may realistically deflect attacks, the effect it has even when the armor protection is applied isint realistic? the fault being juxtaposition rather than a mechanical failure

or is it because this system regardless of how much damage a character can do or how well he can hit will ultimately reduce the damage being done on all sides thus increasing the effect of having the amount of hitpoints that are natural to D&D? the additional effect being it prolongs encounters especially considering most monsters are THICC with hitpoints compared to other editions of the game.

if the latter is the issue then i think that's a matter of taste personally, a pursuit of a specific kind of game which im not necessarily making these rules for, its an application the idea can exist for of-course but the artists work can always be used beyond its intent, for the latter i think a solution would be reducing hitpoints by an amount, how much exactly would depend on play testing, though the issue there is there still isint a balance between armor style play and unarmored style play, and reducing hitpoints across the board would only exacerbate the problem. if some solution there could be found id make a prediction, you probably wouldn't need to reduce hitpoints below half of what it is currently.
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
errata 1
-changed chainmail and chain shirt to have -2 armor protection from piercing and half metal armor protection from piercing. chainmails cost reduces to 400gp
-added armor piercing arrows/bolts
 

coolAlias

Explorer
While I dislike (critical) hit charts in general because they slow the game down, using them opens up some design space for implementing individual armor pieces.

The critical hit chart for blunt head wounds might have 6 levels of severity with a 6+ being instant death (crushed skull); wearing a helmet could impose a -1 or -2 to the roll rather than or in addition to providing an AC / DR bonus. If you want to keep it dangerous, do like in 2e Combat & Tactics and have larger creatures roll bigger dice on the charts, e.g. 1d8 for an ogre even though the max is 6 (or whatever).
 

dave2008

Legend
why exactly does making armor more realistic not work when you keep hitpoints the same? is it the idea that hitpoints are so high so while the armor may realistically deflect attacks, the effect it has even when the armor protection is applied isint realistic? the fault being juxtaposition rather than a mechanical failure

By RAW, hit points are an abstraction. When your are "hit" in the game and loose hit points it doesn't necessarily mean you are actually taking physical damage. HP are more a measure of luck and exhaustion. That is why you heal so fast and can keep fighting right to 0. If this is the case then it doesn't make sense for armor to be damage reduction, because you aren't really taking damage when you loose hit points.

So, IMO, for damage reduction to really make sense you either make HP less abstract and be actual "meat" points or provide an alternate "meat" points (like our BHP or the Vitality Points in the UA article). I'm not saying it is something you have to do, but when our group considered armor as DR it really began to trash the default idea of hit points so we had to come up with an alternate way to handle them. Thus we have HP wich as RAW and BHP as actual "meat" points.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
While HP are abstract and sometimes represent effort to turn lethal hits aside or such, sometimes they do also mean you got "hit" and the armor makes defending yourself more easy. Thus, armor as DR, even in an HP system, makes a certain amount of sense. You won't have to expend as much effort to make the blow less lethal in armor than in not.

We tried a AC/DR variant a while ago which was pretty simple:

Light armor was 1 point of AC (no max DEX bonus)/ 1 point of DR
Medium armor was 2 points of AC (max DEX +3)/ 2 points of DR
Heavy armor was 4 points of AC (max DEX +1)/ 4 points of DR
A shield added 1 point of AC/ 1 point of DR

DR could not reduce a hit to less than 1 point. Critical hits ignored DR. IIRC, we had Armor Master Feats add +1 AC and +1 DR. We also toyed with the idea that you could make an attack with disadvantage, but you then ignored DR.

I think that was most of it. Not horribly complex IMO and maybe someone can run with it?
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
By RAW, hit points are an abstraction. When your are "hit" in the game and loose hit points it doesn't necessarily mean you are actually taking physical damage. HP are more a measure of luck and exhaustion. That is why you heal so fast and can keep fighting right to 0. If this is the case then it doesn't make sense for armor to be damage reduction, because you aren't really taking damage when you loose hit points.

So, IMO, for damage reduction to really make sense you either make HP less abstract and be actual "meat" points or provide an alternate "meat" points (like our BHP or the Vitality Points in the UA article). I'm not saying it is something you have to do, but when our group considered armor as DR it really began to trash the default idea of hit points so we had to come up with an alternate way to handle them. Thus we have HP wich as RAW and BHP as actual "meat" points.
While HP are abstract and sometimes represent effort to turn lethal hits aside or such, sometimes they do also mean you got "hit" and the armor makes defending yourself more easy. Thus, armor as DR, even in an HP system, makes a certain amount of sense. You won't have to expend as much effort to make the blow less lethal in armor than in not.

We tried a AC/DR variant a while ago which was pretty simple:

Light armor was 1 point of AC (no max DEX bonus)/ 1 point of DR
Medium armor was 2 points of AC (max DEX +3)/ 2 points of DR
Heavy armor was 4 points of AC (max DEX +1)/ 4 points of DR
A shield added 1 point of AC/ 1 point of DR

DR could not reduce a hit to less than 1 point. Critical hits ignored DR. IIRC, we had Armor Master Feats add +1 AC and +1 DR. We also toyed with the idea that you could make an attack with disadvantage, but you then ignored DR.

I think that was most of it. Not horribly complex IMO and maybe someone can run with it?

so this reply applies to both of your points


D&D doesn't really know what it wants to be, it says HP is an abstraction, yet at the same time you have to HIT to deal DAMAGE to a character, and you can potentially HIT a character in a way that strikes a vital area resulting in a CRIT which does more damage, furthermore some monsters are immune to crits (at least in older editions they were, i don't know about 5e).

the game and its players might argue that HP is an abstraction, but everything about how weapons work runs contrary to the idea that it doesn't do damage, especially when you consider poison, which has an contact and injury delivery system, and specifically injury only applies to piercing and slashing damage.

D&D wants it both ways, and i don't know why, they would be better off simply saying that player characters are super-humans who can shrug off wounds that would be fatal to lesser mortals, because there;s LESS in this game that seems like hp is an abstraction of close calls than there is to imply hitpoints is health.
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
errata 2
changed -2 to piercing that chainmail and chain shirt share into -2 from bludgeoning
changed cost of chainmail back to 500gp
added -2 to piercing to scale mail
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
so this reply applies to both of your points

D&D doesn't really know what it wants to be, it says HP is an abstraction, yet at the same time you have to HIT to deal DAMAGE to a character, and you can potentially HIT a character in a way that strikes a vital area resulting in a CRIT which does more damage, furthermore some monsters are immune to crits (at least in older editions they were, i don't know about 5e).

the game and its players might argue that HP is an abstraction, but everything about how weapons work runs contrary to the idea that it doesn't do damage, especially when you consider poison, which has an contact and injury delivery system, and specifically injury only applies to piercing and slashing damage.

D&D wants it both ways, and i don't know why, they would be better off simply saying that player characters are super-humans who can shrug off wounds that would be fatal to lesser mortals, because there;s LESS in this game that seems like hp is an abstraction of close calls than there is to imply hitpoints is health.

The concept is misleading really. The term "hit points" implies a "hit", as in physical contact. Sometimes that might be case, other times it isn't. That is the abstract part IMO. This is one of the reasons why I describe HP as "combat effectiveness." When that is "attacked", the effort to resist a successful attack results in a loss of HP. Is that physical damage? Maybe. Is it effort to avoid the blow? Maybe.

Even a critical "hit" doesn't necessarily mean a hit. It means a very effective attack was conducted and results in more effort, luck, skill, or whatever to avoid, turn into a lesser hit, or whatever. Off hand, I don't know of anything that is immune to crits in 5E, but I could be missing it.

I agree for things such as poison, HP is not a great model given its abstract nature. For such times, you have to assume actual contact was made, but even the damage from the hit and the poison itself can still be reflected in the loss of HP as a measure of skill, toughness, luck, etc.

Finally, the AC granted by armor already reflects the DR it grants. For example, if a "hit" or effective attack fails against an AC 20 (due to plate and shield), but succeeds against an AC 16 (maybe studded leather and high DEX?); is it reasonable to assume the attack physically struck the lower AC (despite high DEX to avoid being hit) and physically missed the high AC? No. That is nonsensical. The stronger armor would have absorbed the hit and negated it (which is what DR is after all). The measure of protection provided by heavier armors is inherent in reducing damage by the fact they have a higher AC. DR is not required and is "double-dipping" if used as well. All that being said, it assumes the attack resulted in actual physical "hits" and such and not metaphysical/abstract damage, etc., which we know is not ncessarily the case.

So, if you want a more complex system that is fine of course, but if you think attacks in D&D require actual "hits" and "damage" you are not interpreting attack or HP the way they were intended IMO. Either way, I agree losing the Touch AC mechanic was not a good idea. There are definitely issues in 5E, such as the fact you have to make an attack roll with a net. Reasonably, hitting someone in heavier armor would be easier than someone in no armor; yet the heavy armor has the higher AC and is harder to "hit" with a net. Things such as that don't make any sense IMO, which is why we changed the mechanic for nets to a DEX save and not an attack roll.
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
The concept is misleading really. The term "hit points" implies a "hit", as in physical contact. Sometimes that might be case, other times it isn't. That is the abstract part IMO. This is one of the reasons why I describe HP as "combat effectiveness." When that is "attacked", the effort to resist a successful attack results in a loss of HP. Is that physical damage? Maybe. Is it effort to avoid the blow? Maybe.

Even a critical "hit" doesn't necessarily mean a hit. It means a very effective attack was conducted and results in more effort, luck, skill, or whatever to avoid, turn into a lesser hit, or whatever. Off hand, I don't know of anything that is immune to crits in 5E, but I could be missing it.

I agree for things such as poison, HP is not a great model given its abstract nature. For such times, you have to assume actual contact was made, but even the damage from the hit and the poison itself can still be reflected in the loss of HP as a measure of skill, toughness, luck, etc.

Finally, the AC granted by armor already reflects the DR it grants. For example, if a "hit" or effective attack fails against an AC 20 (due to plate and shield), but succeeds against an AC 16 (maybe studded leather and high DEX?); is it reasonable to assume the attack physically struck the lower AC (despite high DEX to avoid being hit) and physically missed the high AC? No. That is nonsensical. The stronger armor would have absorbed the hit and negated it (which is what DR is after all). The measure of protection provided by heavier armors is inherent in reducing damage by the fact they have a higher AC. DR is not required and is "double-dipping" if used as well. All that being said, it assumes the attack resulted in actual physical "hits" and such and not metaphysical/abstract damage, etc., which we know is not ncessarily the case.

So, if you want a more complex system that is fine of course, but if you think attacks in D&D require actual "hits" and "damage" you are not interpreting attack or HP the way they were intended IMO. Either way, I agree losing the Touch AC mechanic was not a good idea. There are definitely issues in 5E, such as the fact you have to make an attack roll with a net. Reasonably, hitting someone in heavier armor would be easier than someone in no armor; yet the heavy armor has the higher AC and is harder to "hit" with a net. Things such as that don't make any sense IMO, which is why we changed the mechanic for nets to a DEX save and not an attack roll.

i created this thread as a reply to your comment
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
@Arch-Fiend :

How about this variant?

Touch AC (TAC) = 10 + DEX + Shield

Full AC (FAC?, he-he-he LOL!) = RAW AC
  • If your attack roll is less than TAC, you miss completely.
  • If your attack roll matches or beats the TAC, you hit and roll damage.
  • You subtract your attack roll from the target's FAC and reduce your damage by this amount (this creates the DR mechanic).
  • If your attack roll beats the FAC, you are actually increasing damage (this supports your desire for higher rolls to increase damage, correct???).
Let's say your target is in chain shirt and shield with DEX 13. Touch AC: 13 (DEX and shield), Full AC: 16.

Example 1: You roll a 14 total, beating the TAC. You roll damage for 8 points. Subtracting FAC - your 14 = 2, so reduce damage by 2 points to 6.

Example 2: You roll a 19 total! Rolling damage yields 7 points. Subtracting FAC - your 19 = -3, so reduce damage by -3 (i.e. add 3) increases damage to 10!

This variant requires you calculating the TAC for everything, but the RAW AC functions as your FAC, so no extra work there. DR is accomplished by scoring hits less than FAC but better than TAC. Boosting damage for high attack totals is also accomplished if desired, otherwise just ignore anything over the FAC.

This idea also preserves BA for those who care. ;) You can still add other mechanics as far as metal type, etc. if you want.

What are your thoughts?
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
@dmd4vr

so i had to think about how that worked for a bit, i think thats only an issue of wording though, dressed up to be presentable in something like the players handbook im sure it could be easly understood.

i think the issue here is that the ac's are to low,generally your going to get more damage than less. lets talk about the balance point, a first level character optimized to hit is going to have as much ability score bonus as possible at that level (disregarding racial bonuses) plus proficiency, this gets worse for range as i just off the top of my head know archery style grants +2 so lets say were talking about a fighter and compare melee and archer against this system. they basically begin with +6 and +8 respectfully, meaning they have a 40% and 50% chance to hit a character in full plate's FAC, which also means they have a 40% to 50% chance to begin doing more damage than they normally can, and this is just at first level with 1 attack per round, and not counting advantage. as for a matter of lesser armors this begins to shift even further but that actually increases the damage your able to do relitive to the kind of armor a character is wearing, so a character wearing padded armor; and lets be generous and make them a dex character and for some reason make them a fighter (not optimized for the long game) and give them the defensive style +1 to ac. they are still looking at taking 2d6x2+10+4str damage from a greatsword rolled critical hit. an average of 30 damage, compared to a normal 18 damage.

this is not even talking about monsters because monsters are not optimized the way a pc would be if a pc had to survive in this system.

all that said, that's only my criticism not my judgement, my judgement would be that this isint a terrible idea, especially with an adjustment to ac from armor, i still like my system for what it represents however your suggestion with a few tweeks is very viable for a good armor damage reduction system
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
i will add that i dont think you would need to increase ac anywhere close to as high as i have mine.

also im more impressed by your system the more i think about it, i might change the way i do armor as dr in my 3.5 game to something a lot like this once i think about it more. my 3.5 game doesent have dr anything like the way i do it in this 5e document, and i dont plan to run that game with something like what i wrote in this document.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
@dmd4vr

so i had to think about how that worked for a bit, i think thats only an issue of wording though, dressed up to be presentable in something like the players handbook im sure it could be easly understood.

i think the issue here is that the ac's are to low,generally your going to get more damage than less. lets talk about the balance point, a first level character optimized to hit is going to have as much ability score bonus as possible at that level (disregarding racial bonuses) plus proficiency, this gets worse for range as i just off the top of my head know archery style grants +2 so lets say were talking about a fighter and compare melee and archer against this system. they basically begin with +6 and +8 respectfully, meaning they have a 40% and 50% chance to hit a character in full plate's FAC, which also means they have a 40% to 50% chance to begin doing more damage than they normally can, and this is just at first level with 1 attack per round, and not counting advantage. as for a matter of lesser armors this begins to shift even further but that actually increases the damage your able to do relitive to the kind of armor a character is wearing, so a character wearing padded armor; and lets be generous and make them a dex character and for some reason make them a fighter (not optimized for the long game) and give them the defensive style +1 to ac. they are still looking at taking 2d6x2+10+4str damage from a greatsword rolled critical hit. an average of 30 damage, compared to a normal 18 damage.

this is not even talking about monsters because monsters are not optimized the way a pc would be if a pc had to survive in this system.

all that said, that's only my criticism not my judgement, my judgement would be that this isint a terrible idea, especially with an adjustment to ac from armor, i still like my system for what it represents however your suggestion with a few tweeks is very viable for a good armor damage reduction system
Yeah, I just sort of through it together. FWIW I am totally fine with criticism, suggestions, etc. to so no worries or need to "be nice" when it comes to that stuff. :)

ACs in 5E are low, but that is because HP are high.

As for the damage boosting aspect, I wouldn't add it personally but I thought that was one feature you wanted to gain. That is why I wrote any attack roll above FAC would just be handled as normal, without extra damage, if you so desire.

I doubt I'll ever add a DR system to 5E. As I wrote a while back I've done it and found it more pain than it was worth. I simply wanted to throw this out as an option maybe you can work with that would require less... well, work. :)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
i will add that i dont think you would need to increase ac anywhere close to as high as i have mine.

also im more impressed by your system the more i think about it, i might change the way i do armor as dr in my 3.5 game to something a lot like this once i think about it more. my 3.5 game doesent have dr anything like the way i do it in this 5e document, and i dont plan to run that game with something like what i wrote in this document.
Cool, like I said it is a launching point for you to think about. If you can make it into something that works for you, is simple to implement, adds fun to your game-- awesome! :D
 

Arch-Fiend

Explorer
im very happy with the system i created here in my first post, even though ive errated it a few times, and it can probably be errated a few more times. but generally i like the basic idea of what ive created here, however it does only serve my interpretation of hitpoints well, but thats what i made it for, i dont think im alone for that either.

as for what you made, im going to be thinking about it more.
 

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