D&D 5E Thoughts on Divorcing D&D From [EDIT: Medievalishness], Mechanically Speaking.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Don't put armor on the equipment list.

Maybe:
  • Allow proficiency on AC when using a weapon you're proficient in against melee attackers you're aware of. (Like you're parrying as part of combat. Maybe against just one?)
  • Have a feat that gives proficiency on AC to dodge any number of attacks you're aware of per round. (Give that feat for free for any class that would have had medium or heavy armor proficiency.)
[They don't stack]
Of course, dodging implies dexterity and dexterity ought to be less relevant to classes with access to heavier armors. And if you don't make dex relevant to dodging, then you have issues with verisimilitude and class narrative.

Of course, none of those things necessarily matter to @Reynard 's campaign idea.
 

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
One interesting this about this discussion is that it underscores the weirdness of the AC and HP system in 5E. That is, AC is about not getting hit, but then so is HP by default. technically, everyone should have the same base HP, then modified by Dex instead of Con based on the narrative description of HP. Of course, I don't think a lot of people use it that way. In my experience, a "hit" is almost never described as a "near hit" or whatever else HP ostensibly stand for prior to the actual last blow.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
From a worldbuilding perspective, the significant difference between PC and NPC is level. They all start out about the same level, but soon the PCs drastically outpace them. There is no narrative to satisfactorily explain this acceleration.

PCs arent really different in kind, but in speed.

It is impossible to maintain a medievalesque setting if the general population is very high level. At this point, it would be a superhero setting.

A plausible "medi" sensibility requires tier 1-4 be common, 5-8 be uncommon, and 9-12 be vanishingly rare. Humanoids normally dont accelerate in level. Something about PCs is "special", but no setting narrative has made sense of this fact.

In my medi settings, the rise of PCs has something to do with "fate". But this isnt an explanation in itself. Especially, ttthe concept of fate is a freewill choice
None of those really work for me. My explanation is that anyone can level up, so long as they do things that grant xp. Many of those things are adventure-based, but PCs and NPCs alike can earn xp that way so long as you don't assume adventures only happen around characters controlled by a player. Other things earn xp too, like rulership, research, politicking, and just generally working at your skills. These methods are generally slower than adventuring, but they still work. Most people don't bother working hard enough to level beyond a bare minimum (where it might take years to see any progress), but anyone could. That's the key.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I am curious why you think they are so inherently contrary. The only real change being presented is a preference for ranged combat, since the proposal of using an Unarmed Defense bonus means, mechanically, there is no real difference as it relates to defense. Armor does not have any other major effects in 5E.
More's the pity.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
One interesting this about this discussion is that it underscores the weirdness of the AC and HP system in 5E. That is, AC is about not getting hit, but then so is HP by default. technically, everyone should have the same base HP, then modified by Dex instead of Con based on the narrative description of HP. Of course, I don't think a lot of people use it that way. In my experience, a "hit" is almost never described as a "near hit" or whatever else HP ostensibly stand for prior to the actual last blow.
IMO, short of stuff like elemental damage and poison (where resistance comes into play and therefore some contact is necessary), hits don't do actual damage until you go down. At that point, I do think the consequences should be much more severe than WotC 5e's whack-a-mole philosophy.
 

I am curious why you think they are so inherently contrary. The only real change being presented is a preference for ranged combat, since the proposal of using an Unarmed Defense bonus means, mechanically, there is no real difference as it relates to defense. Armor does not have any other major effects in 5E.
It's mostly that the mechanics are untethered from what I think of as "typical" D&D creatures and combat.

Nothing about the proposed changes appears to care about how D&D monsters work, or what kinds of circumstances occur in the "types of adventures D&D does well"
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I've thought about giving everyone a defense bonus equal to half their proficiency bonus. Then you can give certain classes a bonus based on the class. Something like a warrior class gains a +2 bonus, the monk adds their wisdom bonus, maybe the rogue gains a +2 as well. Wizards or their equivalent might have no bonus.

You could also add fighting styles into it so that duelling gains a bonus when using a one handed weapon, maybe a boxing style gains it while fighting unarmed.

Another option (that I've remembered after writing everything above) is to only base it on the fighting style but make them something easily picked up. If anyone remembers the old dragonfist game, they had martial arts styles that determined your AC (they also had armour but I can't remember how it worked). Warriors start out with a fighting style, perhaps linked to their background, others can spend a feat to learn a style. I'd probably have at least two tiers to this feat system and provide something more than just an AC boost. I might also provide some other feats that boost AC under cartain conditions, but that starts to get a little cumbersome.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
IMO, short of stuff like elemental damage and poison (where resistance comes into play and therefore some contact is necessary), hits don't do actual damage until you go down. At that point, I do think the consequences should be much more severe than WotC 5e's whack-a-mole philosophy.

For me it's easier to think about it as a matter of projecting from the fictional world to the game state. Some damage, as well as depletion or stamina, expenditure of luck, etc... is happening in the fictional world, but the game state is binary. Having nothing actually happen in the fictional world until one hits zero feels like it matches some really weak being behind a forcefield, but not the typical fantasy fiction, the words used in the game, or how I picture anything vaguely realistic or versimilitudiness.

I'd prefer any of:

  • Fewer hit points and better AC to make them mostly meat and getting missed respectively,
  • Something woundy happening at say half hp or 1/3 & 2/3 HP to signify there was also damage,
  • Or something like every xth damage going on a wound track,

if my only other choice was the force field idea.

My real preference might be to just not play with anyone who insists on either all meat or no meat and therefore just be able to usually avoid thinking about what they are. I think that also makes switching genres easier.
 

If he didn't fight them, then armor can't really be an issue, to be fair.
Sure. I think he wore gear that makes sense for what he expected to encounter and the gameplan he had for the unexpected (i.e. run/hide).

I think it's difficult to make a case in "typical" D&D for adventurers who both expect to delve into wholly uninhabited ruins and whose whole gameplan is to hide and run away from every other weird thing they come across.

Like, I think that kind of game could be fun, but it'd seem pretty atypical of a game that includes 6 different classes whose shtick is stacking damage.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
It's mostly that the mechanics are untethered from what I think of as "typical" D&D creatures and combat.

Nothing about the proposed changes appears to care about how D&D monsters work, or what kinds of circumstances occur in the "types of adventures D&D does well"
That doesn't make any sense. How are D&D monsters tied to wearing armor as opposed to an expected AC?
 

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