D&D 5E Why AD&D Rocks and 3e - 5e Mocks all over AC...

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
That seems odd. So a guy with 20 Dex and Leather armor is almost as effective defensively as a guy in Full Plate. But Full Plate doesn't protect you any more or less no matter how high your Dexterity is? Assuming Dex bonus = dodging.
 

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That seems odd. So a guy with 20 Dex and Leather armor is almost as effective defensively as a guy in Full Plate. But Full Plate doesn't protect you any more or less no matter how high your Dexterity is? Assuming Dex bonus = dodging.
IMO, and I think Steampunkette's point, the guy with 20 Dex and leather approaches the same defense as the guy in full plate is a real but separate issue*. I think the question is: is the guy with a great dexterity and wearing plate mail hugely better at avoiding taking damage than someone else in plate mail who is not massively dexterous? The person in cloths or light armor has to dodge and duck and weave and evade the attacks coming their way. The person in plate mail, they can still dodge (again, we all agree that knights in armor weren't lumbering tin cans), but how much additional protective quality does it provide them?

honestly, the OP used AD&D and 3E, and that's where I think these analyses work better in that context. 5e went all-in on dashing swashbucklers and Dex supremacy, and beyond that bounded accuracy puts all sorts of things within a hair's breadth of each other. In 3e, well, medium and heavy armor do allow you to add dex bonuses -- just with a relatively low cap (+1 at dex 12 for plate mail). Also in 3e, leather armor only gets you just-shy-of-plate AC when one has a Dexterity score well in excess of starting base human*.
**although, at that point we should probably mention that 20 Dex is in excess of starting base human in 5e as well.
 
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If we wanted to be a bit more realistic, we'd separate "attacks connecting" from "taking damage" in the rules - so dodging would prevent you form getting hit in the first place, but platemail means you often don't care even when you do get hit because 'ding'.

Dex (and other unarmored defense abilities) would affect dodging and therefore getting hit in the first place (possibly cross-referencing encumbrance), armor would reduce damage on a hit (and if it's reduced to 0 secondary effects wouldn't trigger - ie no poison).

This, of course, adds a layer to the whole attack-roll sequence, which makes combat slower.
 


Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
If we wanted to be a bit more realistic, we'd separate "attacks connecting" from "taking damage" in the rules - so dodging would prevent you form getting hit in the first place, but platemail means you often don't care even when you do get hit because 'ding'.

Dex (and other unarmored defense abilities) would affect dodging and therefore getting hit in the first place (possibly cross-referencing encumbrance), armor would reduce damage on a hit (and if it's reduced to 0 secondary effects wouldn't trigger - ie no poison).

This, of course, adds a layer to the whole attack-roll sequence, which makes combat slower.
Huh.... Thoughts on this:

Could make it so you take a minor amount of damage on a hit that doesn't beat your AC but -is- above 10+Dex?

And then have Monks and Barbarians use 10+Dex+(Stat) for their unarmored defense.

So you'd have a Glancing Blow AC and a "Real" AC that it would be easy to check against.

BUT. It makes Dex -even more important- since you still take some damage in full plate on hits that miss your real AC.
 

Horwath

Hero
So uh...

All the Dex in the world will let you dodge some attacks in light armor to minimize the damage you take. In heavy armor, the same amount of dodging makes no difference 'cause they'll hit metal instead of you.

Not getting Dex to AC in full plate has nothing to do with being -unable- to dodge. It's being unable to dodge more effectively than the armor already is at stopping you from taking damage.
well, we could now get into the type of damage you can get.

while you are better off in a plate if someone attacks you with one handed sword, as it will most probably do nothing,

if someone swings a warhammer at you, you better try to dodge, as it will knock you out if it connects with your helmet.


but, the truth is, you ARE slower in armor.
for how much? not by very much, but it is measurable, and for D&D, you are slower by "game balance" amount.

But, I liked 3.5e version better where every armor had it's own max dex and armor check penalty(it was too high IMHO in general)
also 5ft speed penalty for heavy armor is reasonable. more if you do not have STR required.
Then again, all armor should have STR requirement.
 

DarkCrisis

Legend
I'd prefer stats go back to like in AD&D where people don't grub for that +1 bonus. If you didnt have at least a 15 in a stat you got nothing.

AC was mostly reliant on armor and shields.

Blows my mind how people think 5th ed is less complicated. It's just as complicated, just in its own way.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I'd prefer stats go back to like in AD&D where people don't grub for that +1 bonus. If you didnt have at least a 15 in a stat you got nothing.

AC was mostly reliant on armor and shields.

Blows my mind how people think 5th ed is less complicated. It's just as complicated, just in its own way.
Well, TBF, in AD&D people almost always used generous rolling systems to help ensure they got bonuses. Right at the front of the ability score section in the 1E PH, Gary is telling us a PC in AD&D usually needs at least two 15s to be viable.

Having spent a lot of time with my 1E and 5E books, it is certainly my opinion that AD&D is much more complicated. Compare the ability bonus charts, for example. Or the spell descriptions. One of my least-favorite parts of the latter was when two classes would have the same spell, and the description under one class would tell you to reference the entry in the other class' list, but to apply the following changes to casting time, area of effect, and spell components, say. Referencing spells in that edition and remembering what they did was much trickier. I'm not even going to get into Initiative. :)
 
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I'd prefer stats go back to like in AD&D where people don't grub for that +1 bonus. If you didnt have at least a 15 in a stat you got nothing.

AC was mostly reliant on armor and shields.
Part of me feels that that was an era that didn't exist for many people. Alternate rolling methods sprang up pretty much in '75 when attributes started mattering with the release of oD&D supplement I (as did keep rolling new characters until you got 'a decent one'). Having the valuable stat range shoehorned into the 15-18 range just focused the same amount of attention* into that smaller range, not mean that the attention did not exist.
*or grub, as you put it, I like that turn of phrase, will have to find a use...

Be it 18/00 strength (approximately doubling damage, depending on weapon and magic), not even being able to cast the highest level spells without a maximum Intelligence as a Magic User (regardless of whether you really expected to reach those levels), or primo classes like paladins (that people would absolutely want to play, and not just once every several hundred characters) made hash of the rarity-gated benefits. Helped along by alternate rolling methods included in the official materials. People found ways to get those necessary stats -- some cheated, most just cajoled the DM into a different rolling system or rolling again if the result was boring.

Blows my mind how people think 5th ed is less complicated. It's just as complicated, just in its own way.
Now that is certainly a truth. All D&Ds are complicated, if for no other reason than so many monsters and spells and magic items have their own unique rules and exceptions here and there. Most of the specifics between editions pale in comparison to that.
 

Huh.... Thoughts on this:

Could make it so you take a minor amount of damage on a hit that doesn't beat your AC but -is- above 10+Dex?

And then have Monks and Barbarians use 10+Dex+(Stat) for their unarmored defense.

So you'd have a Glancing Blow AC and a "Real" AC that it would be easy to check against.

BUT. It makes Dex -even more important- since you still take some damage in full plate on hits that miss your real AC.
I mean you could, but I don't like it. If we're going for realistic, people in full plate don't care about glancing blows. They just bounce off. If you want to hurt them with a small weapon, you need to knock them down, have four of your buddies grab the knight, open their visor and stab them in the face. The introduction of full plate negated swords as sidearms against heavy troops and caused the re/introduction of different weapons like maces and poleaxes, which could actually hit hard enough to make an armored enemy care that you hit them.

If we don't care about all that and just want the fantasy while keep the game running smoothly - either stick with AC as-is or make armor give you DR or bonus hit points. (and in that case have a parry bonus to AC by default)
 

Andvari

Adventurer
Couldn’t one argue high Dex would also let you parry or block more effectively besides just dodging? I imagine armor would impact those actions even less than your ability to dodge incoming attacks.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
well, we could now get into the type of damage you can get.

while you are better off in a plate if someone attacks you with one handed sword, as it will most probably do nothing,

if someone swings a warhammer at you, you better try to dodge, as it will knock you out if it connects with your helmet.
1e had that, or a variant, in its "weapon vs armour type" tables.

I'm not sure how many (but I suspect not many) DMs used these tables; but they sure sound like what you're after with this.
 

Horwath

Hero
1e had that, or a variant, in its "weapon vs armour type" tables.

I'm not sure how many (but I suspect not many) DMs used these tables; but they sure sound like what you're after with this.
I am really not after this :D

It just makes the system too complicated with few benefits.

Attack riders depending on damage type or weapon use seems much more elegant.
Be that with basic abilities that everyone can use, or with feats like Piercer, crusher, slasher or combat maneuvers.
 

1e had that, or a variant, in its "weapon vs armour type" tables.

I'm not sure how many (but I suspect not many) DMs used these tables; but they sure sound like what you're after with this.
My old college group would start games saying we wanted to use those tables (they existed in 2e too) and then promptly forgot about them a session or two in.

Interestingly enough, the Baldur's Gate CRPGs did incorporate them...
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I'm not sure how many (but I suspect not many) DMs used these tables
We used them all the time, but it helped that I put space on character sheets for them so people remembered to use them:
1655976398236.png

I even used them for natural armor which mimicked armor types.

It made having at least two weapons a good option, one weapon for heavier armors and one weapon for lighter or no armor. For example, a horseman's military pick and a broad sword, two "knightly" weapons, would give you a bonus (using one or the other) vs. virtually every armor type (except AC 6).

1655976770873.png

1655976787455.png
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I think the reason most folks didn't use weapon vs. armor, despite it having some value in theory, comes down to a combination of fiddliness and some basic math errors which betray the whole endeavor right from the start.

The weapon vs. AC charts in Chainmail encapsulated "hit" and "damage" together, simulating, for example, how a mace is much better at hurting someone in plate than a sword. But when D&D divorced hit from damage, Gary erroneously converted over the difference in "to hit" without accounting for damage.

 

I think it also wasn't well communicated exactly what this was about or why one would want it.
With regards to realism, the wargamers originally thought to be the primary buyers of the initial game would know (at least vaguely) about this weapon being great against lightly- or unarmored foes but bad against mail or plate, and this other weapon being specifically designed for plate, and so on. The HS or college kid who ended up being the bread and butter buyer BITD? Maybe, but certainly not in total. There needed to be a sales pitch, and the game never really did it (I'm guessing because Gary himself wasn't really that into that part of it, and included it most to satisfy the base that did).

With regards to gamist reasons to want it, it makes all the sense in the world when you are doing Chainmail unit vs. unit clashes, but less so in D&D (especially AD&D and oD&D post supplement I). In Chainmail, perhaps you know (or see on the sand table) your opponent is playing 4rd century Visigoths with mail, spear and shield and thus you knew to bring the right troops with the right kit to defeat that (or, if already in-play, which units to bring forward to face them). In D&D there aren't as many instances where you can have pre-knowledge of your opponents, and (barring more bags of holding than you'll ever need for treasure hauling) are unlikely to carry around a weapon for each situation. Even less so once you have some magic weapons, and thus any minor benefit you get from optimal weapon vs. armor setup is competing with one of the items getting +X to all attacks (and damage). Even more less so once the variable weapon damage came into being and the answer to every question became 'longswords, greatswords, and longbows whenever possible. Daggers and halberds if the DM bothers with weapon reach or cramped quarters issues.'

Throw in some other D&D game conceits and the WvsAC table ends up seeming like a distraction (again, one that never received a great pitch for why one would want it). Things like some characters only being able to use some weapons*; monsters which can only be hit by magic; some monsters skin types clearly correlating to a given armor type but many others not; and perhaps most importantly weapon proficiencies making weapon choice have to be done at a several-level timeframe, rather than when one knows they are about to face opponents with a given type of armor.
*and the magical mace or warhammer probably going to the cleric because that's all they can use, rather than being kept for the fighter when up against a platemail wearing opponent
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Lots of talk about dexterity and armor... but AC has only one job in D&D: it's a damage gatekeeper. Damage serves one primary job: reducing hit points. And what are hit points? Well, they're not just meat. So to me, it's not a question of how well you roll in armor or whether an unarmored person dodges better. It's this:

Why does a given D&D edition reward some characters with more survivability than others?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I am really not after this :D

It just makes the system too complicated with few benefits.

Attack riders depending on damage type or weapon use seems much more elegant.
Be that with basic abilities that everyone can use, or with feats like Piercer, crusher, slasher or combat maneuvers.
That's the weapon side, but where's the armour side? Armour is what's under discussion here, and its effect on "hittability" and-or damage taken.

I agree the weapon-vs-armour-type business is overly complicated for most purposes, and have thus never used it myself; but I can't see a way of differentiating different weapons' effects on different armours that doesn't end up looking pretty much like those tables.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Lots of talk about dexterity and armor... but AC has only one job in D&D: it's a damage gatekeeper. Damage serves one primary job: reducing hit points. And what are hit points? Well, they're not just meat. So to me, it's not a question of how well you roll in armor or whether an unarmored person dodges better. It's this:

Why does a given D&D edition reward some characters with more survivability than others?
Does it, though?

Curious for anyone reading: do any of you have long-term stats for your games around survivability or death frequency by class? I do, for my/our games, and they show that absent a few rarely-played outliers survivability doesnt really depend on class much if at all; but I'd be interested in seeing stats from different versions/editions of the game to see if this finding holds up there.
 

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