Armor & AC

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Reading the Armor & Shields table I can't find any reason to take certain armor types. For example, why wear Scale armor (AC = 14+half Dex mod) when Chain Shirt (AC = 14+full Dex mod) and costs 500gp as compared to 75gp.

So someone with say a +3 Dex mod would have an AC of 15 in Scale, but an AC of 17 in a Chain Shirt. And it takes 5 times longer to put it on.

Unless they intend to introduce advantages for heavier armor in future playtest material, I think this needs to be revised.
I agree.
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Yeah, that Armour table looks a bit of a mess right now tbh.
Maybe Heavy armor should gain something like Armor bonus + half Str mod?  Because generally the ones wearing heavy armor are going to be classes using Str.  I mean I think that'd put them basically on par with medium armor users at least right?  Or is that idea something that would make heavy armor wearers suddenly too good?
Not every character has a positive dexterity modifier.  The best armor would vary with your dexterity and armor proficiencies.




 
Not every character has a positive dexterity modifier.  The best armor would vary with your dexterity and armor proficiencies.




 



Except that the ones using light or medium armor are most likely to have at least something in Dex for that reason, so they can add to their AC since they're given the opportunity.  Meanwhile say the fighter wears heavy armor it doesn't matter if he as a good Dex or not he just gets the armor bonus.

Best case scenario light/med armor wears are even with heavy armored characters, or maybe one over.  Worse case the light/med armored out AC the heavy armored by 2+ points.  Now yes this is semi-balanced by the fact that a good Con score(which a fighter most likely will have a decent one) gives a fighter a healthy amount of HP while say a wizard who most likely wouldn't have a good Con score is going to be screwed on HP.  So the fighter might get hit more but last longer due to having more HP, while the wizard when hit is a little harder to hit but once hit will mostly likely go done in a hit or two due to low HP.  But still...I agree heavy armor basically blows.

Adding to my previous idea, maybe instead of half Str mod added to the armor bonus it should be half Con mod?    I don't know though, if there's a future class that gets heavy armor(aside from the battle cleric) but doesn't really need a good Con score they'd be screwed stilled.
My notes on armor.

Ringmail is worthless, at 5gp more than studded leather, it should never ever be worn.  Studded leather weighs less, and gives full dex mod.

Splint and Chainmail should swap places, Splint is a precusor to banded mail where as Chainmail is essentially improved ringmail.

Medium armor seems to be practically worthless in general, When Dex >= 14 you can get much better armor in the light armor (For instance at 14 Dex, you can get a chain shirt at 75gp that protects you as well as splint does, for a savings as 425gp for similar price).  and if DEX < 12 you are better off in heavy armor (you take a speed penalty, but that seems minor at best).

This leads the question why is there a subset of armor made for DEX 12, 13 people? 

Related: Why is the dwarven fighter gimping himself out of 50gold?  He would have the same AC in scale and move faster.  Is this demostrating how to RP Int 8 correctly?

Edit> Whoops missed a bonus for the dwarf, still he can have the same AC and carry more loot. 
Reading the Armor & Shields table I can't find any reason to take certain armor types. For example, why wear Scale armor (AC = 14+half Dex mod) when Chain Shirt (AC = 14+full Dex mod) and costs 500gp as compared to 75gp.


While I agree, just one minor point to correct, its 50gp for scale, not 500.  500 is for splint (15+half dex mod)
                     -2  -1    0  +1  +2  +3  +4  +5   <<  Dex Mod
Chain Shirt    12 13  14  15  16  17  18  19     
Splint Mail     14  14  15 15  16  16  17  17        
Plate Mail      18  18  18 18  18  18  18  18

Using the "best" variety of each armor.
Note shields don't seem to have a penalty  so +1/2 AC there.
Only benefit i could see from some of the middle of the road armors would be better balance
of touch/flat-footed.

With a kind DM a fighter with low Dex could still have a 20 AC.
Well, from my table plate has 17, not 18.

I would add a max AC for each armor (which is basically the old max DEX bonus) and continue to add Dex to all armors (no halving)

Something like:





















































ArmorACMax AC
Leather12 + Dex18
Studded Leather13 + Dex18
Chain Shirt14 + Dex18
Mithral Chain15 + Dex19
Ringmail13 + Dex18
Splint15 + Dex18
Dragonscale17 + Dex19
Plate17 + Dex18
Adamantine18 + Dex19


Some rows are omitted, but I guess it is possible to get the idea. Every armor has max AC of 18, with the exception of the absolute best one, which has 19. So you can always choose the optimum armor for your Dex bonus until the highest tier armor becomes available.

I also would strongly suggest that all max tier armors cost the same (The cost of Adamantine)



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as it is medium armor is just really bad. With your dex halfed you need to have a high dex invesment to get use out of it, but if you have a decent dex score it's pointless.
I think the math makes more sense if medium armor has a max dex bonus of 2 rather then being halfed.
That way it's always going to be better for the people who should be using it.
Reading the Armor & Shields table I can't find any reason to take certain armor types. For example, why wear Scale armor (AC = 14+half Dex mod) when Chain Shirt (AC = 14+full Dex mod) and costs 500gp as compared to 75gp.

So someone with say a +3 Dex mod would have an AC of 15 in Scale, but an AC of 17 in a Chain Shirt. And it takes 5 times longer to put it on.

Unless they intend to introduce advantages for heavier armor in future playtest material, I think this needs to be revised.



Scale costs 50gp, not 500gp. So it's cheaper, but not as good. Seems reasonable enough to me.
What I notice is that heavy armor really sucks. This is a big part of the reason the fighter is so fragile, even though he has good HP. I would solve this by giving heavy armor damage resistance on top of the AC bonus. Letting you add your full AC should help too, but stratospheric ACs could be problematic for mathematical reasons, especially since AC and BAB don't scale anymore.
I would add a max AC for each armor

Why? Just to keep those numbers from getting too godly?
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Heavy armour lets you have a good AC based on Str instead of Dex.
I suppose the expensive armour could be..improved by magic subsequently..and the cheap armour couldn´t get thos "slots" of improvement (like magic runes).  That would the reason about its prize.

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I suppose the expensive armour could be..improved by magic subsequently..and the cheap armour couldn´t get thos "slots" of improvement (like magic runes).  That would the reason about its prize.


I reckon you're thinking too complicated for core stuff like this.
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Yep, right now Rogues and the like will simply have the best AC.

They either need to boost the Medium/Heavy values, factor in more Dex for those (not keen on that) or take the chance to finally fix Shields and make them MUCH more than the silly +1/+2 they have now.

A Shield should be the most important bit of armour, not an afterthought.

I don't mind the idea that a Fighter lumbering about in Plate is easier to hit but in D&D it's also representing protection from hits and unless they bring in Damage Reduction they need to just boost those ACs.
I liked BRP treating a shield as cover. I'm thinking a +2AC/+5AC split based on the cover rules makes a lot more sense, with +1 relegated to the buckler.
Besides the balance issue here, why don't the designers just simplify the AC formula like this? 

AC = 10 (natural armor) + armor bonus + dex modifier + bonuses 


Why do they need the armor values start from 12 and going up?
Besides the balance issue here, why don't the designers just simplify the AC formula like this? 

AC = 10 (natural armor) + armor bonus + dex modifier + bonuses 


Why do they need the armor values start from 12 and going up?

Presumably to get the probabilities to work out right.
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Nice assumptions here ...

You know, that as far as the material is concerned, attributes are capped at 20?
So the aforementioned Rogue can have 20 AC in nonmagical Mithral Chain. A Fighter could get to 19 with Plate+Shield with less money. But since shields can have enhancement bonuses, too, there are more options for a fighter to increase AC, than for a rogue.

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Money is not really much of an issue when it comes to nonmagical gear, we ain't talking about Level 1 characters here scrabbling around for their first scraps of geasr I'm talking just a few levels into their career when they've plundered a couple of dungeons and can buy mundane gear aplenty.

I'm aware of the Attribute Cap but you think a Rogue's 20 AC is fair to a Fighter who's put on much heavier, more protective armour and a Shield and still come out 1 AC lower?

I certainly don't.

Another suggestions for shields beyond boosting flat AC or making them Cover is giving them a bonus to AC based on Strength.
If magical item prices are based on the mundane prices, than it will still matter, independant of what you are thinking for yourself.
So a rogue character would have less money to spend on other things, if loot is shared equally.

But aside from that, the hitpoint advantage of a fighter will be glaringly high. 5E seems to start lower, but the fighter gains +3 HP per level compared to a rogue. We will see the fighter at 74 HP on level 10 and the rogue with 44 HP, both assuming 14 CON.
If you think, that these 5% in getting hit more often will amount to 30 damage per fight, you should review your math.

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Money is not really much of an issue when it comes to nonmagical gear, we ain't talking about Level 1 characters here scrabbling around for their first scraps of geasr I'm talking just a few levels into their career when they've plundered a couple of dungeons and can buy mundane gear aplenty.

I'm aware of the Attribute Cap but you think a Rogue's 20 AC is fair to a Fighter who's put on much heavier, more protective armour and a Shield and still come out 1 AC lower?

I certainly don't.

Another suggestions for shields beyond boosting flat AC or making them Cover is giving them a bonus to AC based on Strength.


When you consider the fact that by this time the fighter is probably going to have MUCH higher HP than the rogue, I don't think it's unfair at all. The rogue is slightly harder to hit, but the fighter takes more hits to bring down. To be honest, I've always wonderd why that wasn't the case in D&D. I expect the lightly armored, dodge-happy thief to be tough to hit, cause he's fast, but takes a real beating when you do hit him, and I expect the heavily armored knight to be easier to land a blow on, but said blow doesn't bother him nearly as much.

I think this armor table does need a little work, because there are some armors that there's really no good reason to use, but I actually really like that if you want to build a lightly armored swashbuckling fighter you can easily do so by giving him a decent dex bonus, and if you want to build a tougher tanking fighter, you give him constitution and heavy armor, and they'd be pretty close to eachother in terms of combat ability.
I suggested on another armor topic that maybe what should be done to make heavy armor more on par at least with light/med is to make it so heavy armor is armor bonus + half Str mod.  So basically it'd be the same as medium armor just with Str instead of Dex since pretty much the only ones wearing heavy armor will be those using Str for melee.  At least in theory I think that would work since the heavy armors have a higher armor bonus it would end up putting them most likely a point or two at least above those in medium armor.  What do you guys think?
While mechanically it would make sense, from a standpoint on the attributes how does having thicker muscles help you exclusively with heavy armor and not with medium or light armor?

High hit points became meaningless when curative spells went back to the 1dX+X healing, the rogue gets better use out of healing spells than a fighter.

 
                     -2  -1    0  +1  +2  +3  +4  +5   <<  Dex Mod
Chain Shirt    12 13  14  15  16  17  18  19     
Splint Mail     14  14  15 15  16  16  17  17        
Plate Mail      18  18  18 18  18  18  18  18

Using the "best" variety of each armor.
Note shields don't seem to have a penalty  so +1/2 AC there.
Only benefit i could see from some of the middle of the road armors would be better balance
of touch/flat-footed.

With a kind DM a fighter with low Dex could still have a 20 AC.



And why in the nine hells would armor negate negative dex modifier?
While mechanically it would make sense, from a standpoint on the attributes how does having thicker muscles help you exclusively with heavy armor and not with medium or light armor?

High hit points became meaningless when curative spells went back to the 1dX+X healing, the rogue gets better use out of healing spells than a fighter.

 


He kinda needs that though, since he's squishier.
While mechanically it would make sense, from a standpoint on the attributes how does having thicker muscles help you exclusively with heavy armor and not with medium or light armor?

High hit points became meaningless when curative spells went back to the 1dX+X healing, the rogue gets better use out of healing spells than a fighter.

 



Well I consider it more like heavy armor, as the name implies, is heavier.  So being stronger allows you to carry that armor easier and more easier with it so you can dodge attacks and take them.  Meanwhile strength doesn't really matter to light/med armor which is generally more about flexibility and movement in the first place which is why Dex matters to it.  I don't know, like I said a random thought that could help the balance of the armors.  I also suggested in a different topic, that instead of Str using Con because most likely the people wearing heavy armor will have a good Con, but I don't know, I keep going back to Str.
But the armor weights are already almost perfectly balanced, as illustrated by the fact that they all give about the same total AC bonus if you're built well for your fighting style. Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages, but they pretty much balace out against each other. I think it's pretty weird how expensive heavy armor is in comparison to light armor, but other than that the mechanics look more or less balanced to me.
Weird side effect: The best tank right now is a Dex fighter.  Your damage is d6 instead of d8, but your AC is potentially 22 (20 Dex, Mithral Chain, Heavy Shield).  I would say "go halfling" but halflings can use full-sized weapons now, and have no special defensive bonuses.

Even stranger, an archer is a decent tank!  A sword-and-board Str fighter has the same AC and has the same damage die as a Dex 20 archer, and with no AoOs and that standing from prone only costs you 5 feet of movement, the only downside is your bad Str save (and what do you want to bet a good Dex save is more valuable?).

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And from the limited spell list it is more vaulable to have a good dex save.

And oddly, Chain shirts don't conduct electricity (Medium and Heavy armor gives advantage to shocking grasp casting people). 
Are we all assuming that a dex of 8 confers a -1 penalty to AC if you wear light armor, or are we assuming it's for light and medium, since half of -1 rounded down is still... -1.  It's rounded down, afterall.  But with heavy armors, you don't apply your dex penalty? 

If that's the case, then Adamantine armor is the way to go until you hit a 14 Dex, in which case you'd be better served wearing the lighter and cheaper dragon scale, which is a medium armor.  A 16 Dex and mithril chain is the best choice from that point forward. 

For adventurers on a budget, I'm assuming every body will start the game wearing either chainmail or chain shirts if at all possible.  The only exception is for low dex characters with access to medium but not heavy armors, in which case they'll go for scale at 1st level.  

I actually don't see most of these armors being used at all except as transition pieces until players can afford the "better" variety.
I've seen everyone just compare Dex Rogue with Str Warrior. But if you compare a Str Warrior to a Dex based Warrior, you will see that Dex has a clear advantage. Assuming the same stats for everyone, Dex warrior will have same to hit, same damage(with finessable weapon) and more AC, more init and more reflex, more speed and even more money in the pocket. It's just not anywhere near balanced ATM
Money is not really much of an issue when it comes to nonmagical gear, we ain't talking about Level 1 characters here scrabbling around for their first scraps of geasr I'm talking just a few levels into their career when they've plundered a couple of dungeons and can buy mundane gear aplenty.

I'm aware of the Attribute Cap but you think a Rogue's 20 AC is fair to a Fighter who's put on much heavier, more protective armour and a Shield and still come out 1 AC lower?

I certainly don't.

Another suggestions for shields beyond boosting flat AC or making them Cover is giving them a bonus to AC based on Strength.



The fighter has more hit points. 1 point of AC difference isn't as much of a deal as 20-30 more HP once you start levelling up.
Am I really that alone in believing that dexterity and armor should be bifurcated with respect to damage?

Setting aside, for the moment, the obvious answer of "because this is how it's always been in D&D," why can combat not be conducted by an opposed contest, with the aggressor using their skill with the weapon (and probably DEX modifier) against the defender skill with the weapon and DEX modifier (and perhaps shield) to determine if a hit is scored at all?

From there, we can deal with things like how much base damage the weapon does (e.g., 1d8+STR), which is then mitigated based on the type of attack and armor?

Or am I violating my own rule and making the core system more complicated than it absolutely needs to be? 
Is it possible they actually want the classes to have similar ACs?

I like that idea Calithrand, make combat more dynamic between opponents.  The difference between a well-trained, experienced warrior and a talented beginner would be much more interesting.

Nimloh, I hope that's not the case.  I think I would completely drop DnD and stick with Pathfinder if that was the case. 
Is it possible they actually want the classes to have similar ACs?



I hope not.  That would lead to the classes feeling dull and distressingly similar.  ACs among the various classes were too close in 4e, and that wasn't fun.

Besides, some of the developers' articles stated that the Fighter was supposed to have the best AC; I still want to see that happen.
But with heavy armors, you don't apply your dex penalty? 


I noticed that as well.

Read between the lines. Leather Armor: 12 + Dex modifier. Not Dex bonus, modifier - positive or negative.

Heavy armor doesn't add the Dex modifier. Ergo, Dex penalties do not apply to heavy armor.

At least that's the way they have the current playtest rules written.

stouty 
Am I really that alone in believing that dexterity and armor should be bifurcated with respect to damage?

Setting aside, for the moment, the obvious answer of "because this is how it's always been in D&D," why can combat not be conducted by an opposed contest, with the aggressor using their skill with the weapon (and probably DEX modifier) against the defender skill with the weapon and DEX modifier (and perhaps shield) to determine if a hit is scored at all?

From there, we can deal with things like how much base damage the weapon does (e.g., 1d8+STR), which is then mitigated based on the type of attack and armor?

Or am I violating my own rule and making the core system more complicated than it absolutely needs to be? 



The problem is backwards compatibility. Change up how AC works, and it's a whole bunch more work to convert my old materials.