Armor issues

Instead of putting all my thoughts into a single post, I think it's better to have discussion threads per topic. So here's one about armor, and just armour. What does everybody think about how armor works?

One thing I really like is that light armour gets full dex bonus, medium armor half, and heavy armor gets no bonus. I love this, though I still need to see how this works out in play.

The loss of armour check penalties. I'm not sure what I think of that yet. I love skills, so I hate armour check penalties, but I wonder if not having them at all wouldn't make things a bit too easy for me. Why would I give my Rogue leather armour? A chain shirt isn't that expensive, and it's a lot better. Most likely, every rogue will start with the AC of plate or adamantine armour long before fighters will be able to afford that, and I'm not so sure that's really what we want.

There are other problems when you compare armours across types.

The one really glaring problem in the armor table: There's no reason whatsoever why anyone would ever want to have ringmail. It's more expensive than studded leather, it's heavier than studded leather, and it offers less protection. Unless you have a negative Dex modifier maybe. Do negative dex modifiers substract from armor? That would at least give ringmail some sort of tiny niche, though I doubt it matters. It should either become cheaper, or maybe all medium armour should get +1 AC.

Comparing chain shirt with chainmail is also interesting. Does it make sense that there's no medium chain armour? Chainmail is not much more expensive than chainmail and quite a bit heavier, gives +1 AC but loses the entire Dex modifier. It's only really good for people with Dex 11 or lower.

A DEX 18 rogue in Mithral Chain will have a better AC than a fighter in Adamantine.

Also, listing mithral, dragonscale and adamantine in the common armour list, makes them feel mundane. It's just the next step of armour, once you can afford it. Is that what we want?

And the cost of adamantine is enormous. How rare and expensive will +1 plate armour be in comparision? 
Armor check penalties: PC's wearing hvy armor get disadvantage when making stealth checks. IMO covers the main area armor check penalties would apply, is a simple solution, and could be used in other areas a DM feels wearing really hvy armor would put a PC at a disadvantage.

Cost of +1 plate: under selling loot it says the value of a magic items is far beyond simple gold and should be treated as such. Don't think without the addition of a mod will magic items be readily available for purchase.
So, Dracolich, I didn't saw what your telling (I may have miss it), but it would render Heavy Armor even more USELESS!

Already, the Dwarf Fighter should be wearing a Chain Shirt for the same AC (AC 14 + 1 (dex)), get back 5 feet of move and gain 25 gp! Well Chain Shirt beat every other armor if you have at least Dex 12! for only 75 gp!

I really think they should revise the Armor to put them as per 3.5e!  Also, Plate Armor at 1,500 gp is way too much. Many time in novel or supplement, we see guards with Plate Armor... imagine the city maintenance costs of their patrol guards!!! for only 17 AC? not good.

Its at the end of the armor section... also disadvantage applies to medium armor as well. You r correct about the dwarf getting money back and not suffering when sneaking, but inherant to dwarves is "speed" which allows them not to suffer the speed pen from wearing hvy armor.

I agree with you the cost of plate is a little on the heavy side I liked the fact a 4e pally could start with plate.
The best armor in the game should be the most expensive, most protective, and the most maneuverable.     For example, I think chain should restrict your movement far more than plate armor. 

I think the armor table is very basic at this point.   Therefore,  I'll reserve judgement until I see the full armor list in the PHB.  


I do recal that they wanted to bring back weapon type vs armor rules.     That will definitly change the dynamic of the armor in D&D much more.     With these rules Chainmail for example wouldn't be all that effective vs bludgoning weapons, but it would be ideal against slashing weapons.


Under the current armor table, light armor + dex will almost always be superior to heavy armor. If it were up to me, I would add the dexterity modifier to all armor types (following pre-3e rules) and then make the movement penalty more severe, a lá Chainmail (Gygax's game, not the armor type).
Under the current armor table, light armor + dex will almost always be superior to heavy armor. If it were up to me, I would add the dexterity modifier to all armor types (following pre-3e rules) and then make the movement penalty more severe, a lá Chainmail (Gygax's game, not the armor type).



This is definitely not true for the play test. 

plate gives +8 armor. chains gives +4. you need an 18 DEX to compete

plate gives +8 armor. splint gives +5. you need a 22 DEX to compete

the only thing that has to happened to insure heavy armor competitiveness is to keep stat scaling low so we aren't playing an epic game where the rogue has 30+ DEX

(Also, I know people will want to bring up Mithril and Dragon Scale, but that's an entire bridge with power to relative cost to availability argument that really isn't worth it at this point in the test.)
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This reminds me of marketing a bit. Products can be made wel, made cheaply, or made quickly. You can usually choose only two of those. Why not apply that to armor?

Armor has Protection, Mobility, and Price. You choose two of those thre things when picking out your armor.

Cheap, protective armor like Breastplates or Half Plate slows you down and makes some skill checks harder (i.e. disadvantage). You'd find it on dwarves and fighters who don't care about mobility, and on town guardsmen.

Cheap, mobile armor like Leather and scale mail don't give a lot of protection, but there's no issues with skill checks. Good for rogues and some mages who can wear armor and cast.

Protective, mobile armor like mithral chain shirts are very expensive, both mundane and enchanted versions. Instead of your armor costing about 1/5 of your character wealth, it's more like 2/5, but it's got good defense and won't interfere with movement.

Light, medium, and heavy armor simply indicate the degree to which the armor is specialized. For example, Cheap protective armor might have Studded Leather (light), Breastplate (medium), and Half Plate (Heavy). Or you could do away with light/medium/heavy armor entirely.



You could also apply the same thought process to weapons. Weapons have Damage, Utility, and Price.

Cheap damaging weapons like greataxes aren't really that useful for combat manuevers.
Cheap utility weapons like rapiers are great for disarming, tripping etc. but do less damage.
Damaging utility weapons like spiked chains are more expensive and rare. Again, they cost twice as much for mundane and magical versions, but can pull off manuevers as well as damaging attacks.

What do you think?
Under the current armor table, light armor + dex will almost always be superior to heavy armor. If it were up to me, I would add the dexterity modifier to all armor types (following pre-3e rules) and then make the movement penalty more severe, a lá Chainmail (Gygax's game, not the armor type).



 Yes I agree, but even with gygax editions the use of magical items (bracers, rings, cloaks) and dex (with no armor) was always the best option.    The pre-4e editions also had a number of armor check penalties that could cause you greif.  Do you recal the vision and hearing penatlies for helms? In addition, you could even drown with heavy armor on.   If I recal the only out of combat advantage you had with full plate was with cold weather climate.    Then again, wearing full plate in the desert heat was a crazy thing to do.   

But yes, I don't like it when heavy armor ends up being worse than light armor and dex.   The a fully armored knight on the battlefield should be feared.     It makes heavy armor seem stupid when in reality it wasn't.     The concept of armor being 'heavy' and therefore slower is also dumb.   Full plate should basicaly make you immune to most sword strikes.  

I'm just hoping they add some of the additional armor rules that 4e included in MME.    Damage resistance for some armor types would go a long way to solving some of these issues.     

I also didn't see any rules for losing your dex bonus. The disadvantage mechanic isn't the same thing.  There is no flat-footed condition that would make using heavy armor an advantage.     Even pre-3e editions didn't give you your dex when you were surprised or being attacked from behind.  

Anyway, I think it's clear that the designers need to think about how armor works in the game alot more.    


 


This reminds me of marketing a bit. Products can be made wel, made cheaply, or made quickly. You can usually choose only two of those. Why not apply that to armor?

Armor has Protection, Mobility, and Price. You choose two of those thre things when picking out your armor.

Cheap, protective armor like Breastplates or Half Plate slows you down and makes some skill checks harder (i.e. disadvantage). You'd find it on dwarves and fighters who don't care about mobility, and on town guardsmen.

Cheap, mobile armor like Leather and scale mail don't give a lot of protection, but there's no issues with skill checks. Good for rogues and some mages who can wear armor and cast.

Protective, mobile armor like mithral chain shirts are very expensive, both mundane and enchanted versions. Instead of your armor costing about 1/5 of your character wealth, it's more like 2/5, but it's got good defense and won't interfere with movement.

Light, medium, and heavy armor simply indicate the degree to which the armor is specialized. For example, Cheap protective armor might have Studded Leather (light), Breastplate (medium), and Half Plate (Heavy). Or you could do away with light/medium/heavy armor entirely.



You could also apply the same thought process to weapons. Weapons have Damage, Utility, and Price.

Cheap damaging weapons like greataxes aren't really that useful for combat manuevers.
Cheap utility weapons like rapiers are great for disarming, tripping etc. but do less damage.
Damaging utility weapons like spiked chains are more expensive and rare. Again, they cost twice as much for mundane and magical versions, but can pull off manuevers as well as damaging attacks.

What do you think?



I don't know, the simulationist in me wants Joan of Arc's half plate to be more manuverable than william the conqueror's chain mail.  


Since this is the armor post, I thought I'd toss out a quick question: How did the Cleric of Moradin (Cleradin?) get his 18 AC? I see Chainmail, which starts you off at 15, followed by a Heavy Shield which nets you a nice +2.  15+2 = 17.  Where's that extra +1 coming from?

Additionally, the Cleradin has a Dex 8 (-1), which means in this case he should have a 16 AC,  unless Heavy Armors also negate a penalty to Dexterity in which case... well, in which case nevermind =)

~DD
Since this is the armor post, I thought I'd toss out a quick question: How did the Cleric of Moradin (Cleradin?) get his 18 AC? I see Chainmail, which starts you off at 15, followed by a Heavy Shield which nets you a nice +2.  15+2 = 17.  Where's that extra +1 coming from?

Additionally, the Cleradin has a Dex 8 (-1), which means in this case he should have a 16 AC,  unless Heavy Armors also negate a penalty to Dexterity in which case... well, in which case nevermind =)

~DD



Definitely looks like a mistake, I can't find anything. Also, with the number of small numerical errors on the character sheet I am starting to think that maybe they are intentional because the Devs haven't gotten to the proper scaling part of the balance and just wanted to have proper ACs and attack bonuses so we can test their internal system components (not necessarily a bad thing).
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Since this is the armor post, I thought I'd toss out a quick question: How did the Cleric of Moradin (Cleradin?) get his 18 AC? I see Chainmail, which starts you off at 15, followed by a Heavy Shield which nets you a nice +2.  15+2 = 17.  Where's that extra +1 coming from?

Additionally, the Cleradin has a Dex 8 (-1), which means in this case he should have a 16 AC,  unless Heavy Armors also negate a penalty to Dexterity in which case... well, in which case nevermind =)

~DD



Definitely looks like a mistake, I can't find anything. Also, with the number of small numerical errors on the character sheet I am starting to think that maybe they are intentional because the Devs haven't gotten to the proper scaling part of the balance and just wanted to have proper ACs and attack bonuses so we can test their internal system components (not necessarily a bad thing).



That actually wouldn't be a bad idea.     If the player stands still and lets his armor do all the work he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.   The armor is going to work the same way regardless.  




That actually wouldn't be a bad idea.     If the player stands still and lets his armor do all the work he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.   The armor is going to work the same way regardless.  



That was also my thinking on the matter.
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That actually wouldn't be a bad idea.     If the player stands still and lets his armor do all the work he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.   The armor is going to work the same way regardless.  



That was also my thinking on the matter.



Yeah it's not like a character with really bad dex is going to guide his foe's sword through the opening in his own armor.  He might fail to dodge the attack or be completely predictablein his movements, but the attacker is still going be up against the armor.




That actually wouldn't be a bad idea.     If the player stands still and lets his armor do all the work he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.   The armor is going to work the same way regardless.  



That was also my thinking on the matter.



Yeah it's not like a character with really bad dex is going to guide his foe's sword through the opening in his own armor.  He might fail to dodge the attack or be completely predictablein his movements, but the attacker is still going be up against the armor.

From a game-design perspective, I'm inclined to agree.

Medium Armor would favor Dex Fighters who wanted SOME Dex.  Heavy Armor would favor DumpStat Dex Fighters.  It would give both armor types a niche of sorts - IF they get the AC progression right.

From a RL perspective however... a clumsy person in heavy armor's still going to get hit more and take more of a bruising/beating than an agile/ normal one.  Armor helps deflect, but it doesn't serve as a wall that you can just stand behind!  (Still, never use RL for game design.  I know *grin*)

~DD 


That actually wouldn't be a bad idea.     If the player stands still and lets his armor do all the work he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.   The armor is going to work the same way regardless.  



That was also my thinking on the matter.



Yeah it's not like a character with really bad dex is going to guide his foe's sword through the opening in his own armor.  He might fail to dodge the attack or be completely predictablein his movements, but the attacker is still going be up against the armor.

From a game-design perspective, I'm inclined to agree.

Medium Armor would favor Dex Fighters who wanted SOME Dex.  Heavy Armor would favor DumpStat Dex Fighters.  It would give both armor types a niche of sorts - IF they get the AC progression right.

From a RL perspective however... a clumsy person in heavy armor's still going to get hit more and take more of a bruising/beating than an agile/ normal one.  Armor helps deflect, but it doesn't serve as a wall that you can just stand behind!  (Still, never use RL for game design.  I know *grin*)

~DD 



And that is why I prefer DR for heavy armor.


That actually wouldn't be a bad idea.     If the player stands still and lets his armor do all the work he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.   The armor is going to work the same way regardless.  



That was also my thinking on the matter.



Yeah it's not like a character with really bad dex is going to guide his foe's sword through the opening in his own armor.  He might fail to dodge the attack or be completely predictablein his movements, but the attacker is still going be up against the armor.

From a game-design perspective, I'm inclined to agree.

Medium Armor would favor Dex Fighters who wanted SOME Dex.  Heavy Armor would favor DumpStat Dex Fighters.  It would give both armor types a niche of sorts - IF they get the AC progression right.

From a RL perspective however... a clumsy person in heavy armor's still going to get hit more and take more of a bruising/beating than an agile/ normal one.  Armor helps deflect, but it doesn't serve as a wall that you can just stand behind!  (Still, never use RL for game design.  I know *grin*)

~DD 



And that is why I prefer DR for heavy armor.



Of course, the problem with that solution is the nature of incoming damage. If damage scales like it does in 3.5, then DR quickly becomes obsolete, and dodging the attack is far more preferable. If damage does not scale, which seems to be the case with 5th Edition, then DR becomes much more powerful, potentially blocking all incoming damage from a strike.

Another alternative would be having medium and heavy armor convert quantities of damage into non-lethal damage. Sure, you still get hit, but it's only bruises, not sword slashes. If you're in full plate, you'd need to get hit by a Troll or Dragon for the damage to inflict serious wounds. This makes natural healing easier for armored fighters, and magical healing more effective as it heals equal amounts of non-lethal and lethal damage.

In return, you've got a larger chance of being hit, you're less mobile, and your skill checks are impaired. Seems like a fair trade to me. 


That actually wouldn't be a bad idea.     If the player stands still and lets his armor do all the work he shouldn't be at a disadvantage.   The armor is going to work the same way regardless.  



That was also my thinking on the matter.



Yeah it's not like a character with really bad dex is going to guide his foe's sword through the opening in his own armor.  He might fail to dodge the attack or be completely predictablein his movements, but the attacker is still going be up against the armor.

From a game-design perspective, I'm inclined to agree.

Medium Armor would favor Dex Fighters who wanted SOME Dex.  Heavy Armor would favor DumpStat Dex Fighters.  It would give both armor types a niche of sorts - IF they get the AC progression right.

From a RL perspective however... a clumsy person in heavy armor's still going to get hit more and take more of a bruising/beating than an agile/ normal one.  Armor helps deflect, but it doesn't serve as a wall that you can just stand behind!  (Still, never use RL for game design.  I know *grin*)

~DD 



And that is why I prefer DR for heavy armor.



Of course, the problem with that solution is the nature of incoming damage. If damage scales like it does in 3.5, then DR quickly becomes obsolete, and dodging the attack is far more preferable. If damage does not scale, which seems to be the case with 5th Edition, then DR becomes much more powerful, potentially blocking all incoming damage from a strike.

Another alternative would be having medium and heavy armor convert quantities of damage into non-lethal damage. Sure, you still get hit, but it's only bruises, not sword slashes. If you're in full plate, you'd need to get hit by a Troll or Dragon for the damage to inflict serious wounds. This makes natural healing easier for armored fighters, and magical healing more effective as it heals equal amounts of non-lethal and lethal damage.

In return, you've got a larger chance of being hit, you're less mobile, and your skill checks are impaired. Seems like a fair trade to me. 



One can hope that they have finally realized the scaling is a problem. in my opinion.
How is this for a first-approximation fix?
Slashing attacks get damage disadvantage (roll damage twice and use the lower result) vs heavy armor.  Slashing attacks get +1 to attack.

Piercing attacks get damage disadvantage vs heavy armor. Piercing attacks score a critical hit on a 19 or 20.

Bludgeoning (I prefer "crushing", to account for constriction and rocks falling) attacks get no special properties vs any armor.

Weapons with more than one damage type can be used either way when attacking; the attacker specifies.

Most creatures with natural armor are treated as medium armor.  Dragons, iron golems and a few others may be specified as "AC20, heavy", while pixies might be "AC20, light".

A few odds and ends:
Finesse bludgeoning (unarmed attacks, nunchaku) get damage dis vs heavy armor when used with finesse, but not when used with STR mod.

chain weapons (flails) get +1 to attack vs shields.
Dracolich, it's true that medium and heavy armor give you Disadvantage with stealth (and possibly other skills), but that is very coarse grained in comparison to 3e's armor check penalties. My skill monkeys often wear leather instead of studded leather or chain shirt, because those still have some armor check penalties. Every armor still has its advantage.

With this armor list, as soon as you've got 100 GP, there will never be a reason to use leather armor, and I don't like that loss in diversity. I like making armor simpler, but we do lose something in the process.

I also agree with everybody that said heavy armor needs to be better. I think medium armor also needs a boost.

Medium and heavy armor have the same stealth penalty, and the -5 move seems pretty minor in comparison. All the advantage medium armor has over heavy is the + half Dex bonus. But you need a Dex of 14 to get anything out of that. And if you have Dex 14, light armor will always be cheaper and better than medium armor. So there seems to be simply no situation where medium armor is better than light or heavy.

Heavy at least has a niche for people with Dex 11 or lower. But for the price you're paying, I'd still like it to be a bit better than it is in the table.

How about giving each armor its own unique special ability? Some might give some DR against certain kinds of damage, some might give a bonus to certain abilities. I realize penalties would be more realistic, but that seems to go against the idea here, and I'm trying to figure out a way to give each armor its own bonus. But an actual Stealth bonus for leather seems a bit strange. Unless there's also normal clothes that give a similar stealth bonus...
I was thinking about the armor issue too, as its the only thing i find "not done well" in this playtest.
I believe that by just giving a +1 to the AC of all the heavy and medium armor should fix the problem. Dont forget that as it seems, stats in this edition arent going to be that high as 4th in early lvls the least, so dex bonuses will stay low.
As for the skill check penalties, a DM could easily give a player dissadvantage if he thinks it is needed anytime!
Anyways, armor definately needs to be rethinked by the devs.
How is this for a first-approximation fix?
Slashing attacks get damage disadvantage (roll damage twice and use the lower result) vs heavy armor.  Slashing attacks get +1 to attack.

Piercing attacks get damage disadvantage vs heavy armor. Piercing attacks score a critical hit on a 19 or 20.

Bludgeoning (I prefer "crushing", to account for constriction and rocks falling) attacks get no special properties vs any armor.

Weapons with more than one damage type can be used either way when attacking; the attacker specifies.

Most creatures with natural armor are treated as medium armor.  Dragons, iron golems and a few others may be specified as "AC20, heavy", while pixies might be "AC20, light".

A few odds and ends:
Finesse bludgeoning (unarmed attacks, nunchaku) get damage dis vs heavy armor when used with finesse, but not when used with STR mod.

chain weapons (flails) get +1 to attack vs shields.



This is great houseruling material that I might steal, but I think it's a little too much for the kind of simplistic, fast combat that WotC is shooting for here. They're working really hard to get away from adding up bonuses, because that leads to number inflation. If a system can work within the adv./dis. system then you're only skewing the distribution, not inflating it.
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How is this for a first-approximation fix?
Slashing attacks get damage disadvantage (roll damage twice and use the lower result) vs heavy armor.  Slashing attacks get +1 to attack.

Piercing attacks get damage disadvantage vs heavy armor. Piercing attacks score a critical hit on a 19 or 20.

Bludgeoning (I prefer "crushing", to account for constriction and rocks falling) attacks get no special properties vs any armor.

Weapons with more than one damage type can be used either way when attacking; the attacker specifies.

Most creatures with natural armor are treated as medium armor.  Dragons, iron golems and a few others may be specified as "AC20, heavy", while pixies might be "AC20, light".



A few odds and ends:
Finesse bludgeoning (unarmed attacks, nunchaku) get damage dis vs heavy armor when used with finesse, but not when used with STR mod.

chain weapons (flails) get +1 to attack vs shields.



Those are great ideas.

When I played 2e we created a weapon type vs armor matrix that had an array of DR and Deflection values for each comparison.

The system was really very realistic.     Oddly enough when facing a knight in full plate, who was basically immune to most of your sword strikes, you ended up having to graple with him.   This put him at a serious disadvantage when we used the wrestling in armor rules.     Thereafter, I read that historically this is exactly what did happen.    The knight would be knocked down and while pinned he would be stabbed with a dagger or pike through the opening in his armor.    

The great thing about this was that most damage was absorbed by the armor and it kept you alive longer.  You could effectively play the game with lower hit point totals and still be very effective.  

I for one have no problems with using these kinds of rules in my game, but I know that other people don't like simulated rules.  Therefore, it should be optional.    

My only concern is that the base system supports the addition of optional rules for armor.    
 


There should never be "junk armor."

As it is, every edition of the game (except 4e) has had armor that had no reason to exist, play-balance wise. It was either inferior in every way to a similar armor, or the only advantage it had was price.

Price is not a balancing factor in mundane armor after 2 or 3 levels.

I don't like armor that is either junk from the get go (ie, only get it if you can't afford that extra 25 gp for the better type) or becomes obsolete by level 2-3.

No type of armor should ever become obsolete. There should be an advantage, however small, to each type (not counting price). Otherwise you end up with situation where, at higher levels, there are only a few armor types that anyone ever wears (for instance, breast plate as the only real choice for medium armor in 3e), and that hurts my play experience. You shouldn't have to take a complete and unmitigated mechanical penalty because you envision your medium armored character in scale or chain rather than a breastplate (3e versions).

3.5e fixed this problem (mostly) regarding weapons, but failed to address it regarding armor. -- Before commenting that not every armor has to be relevent to PCs, please re-read the preceding sentence. They specifically fixed the issue with weapons -- armor should be no different.
But yes, I don't like it when heavy armor ends up being worse than light armor and dex.   The fully armored knight on the battlefield should be feared.

And they will be.

A heavy knight on a battlefield has an AC just one below the mobile warrior. One whole point. And given the very common trope of "nimble warrior" vs. "heavy knight", that's a good thing. The whole point of light armor is added mobility, and mobility means not getting hit.

The big change, though, comes when you realize that the heavy knight has an 8 Dexterity while still having a 20 AC. That means he likely has a 16-18 Strength and a 14-16 Constitution,  depending on ability score generation methods. So the heavy knight has more damage and more hitpoints. And while the nimble warrior could well have dumped Strength and/or Constitution, it's not nearly as likely as a tank dumping Dexterity. Which means that not only is the heavy knight stronger and tougher, the nimble warrior isn't actually as nimble as he could have been. Or if he is, he's either using finesse weapons for low damage, or he'll go down in one or two hits.

If the nimble warrior doesn't learn to respect and fear what the heavy knight can dish out... well, he'll be still and dead on the ground rather shortly. He's going to need all of that AC and mobility just to stay alive.
Mhaedros, although I like the advantage/disadvantage system, it's much to coarse-grained to distinguish between different types of armor. As the rules are currently written, it doesn't even distinguish between heavy and medium armour, and the real problem is that we lack a good reason to buy leather, ringmail or chainmail.

Sword_of_Spirit points to an interesting solution. One thing that distuinguished between the many different types of weapons in 3e, is that many weapons have a special ability. They have extra reach, or you can use them to trip or receive charge. It would be nice if we could come up with a bunch of similar abilities for armour.

The problem is, I have no idea what kind of advantages armour can offer beyond AC and perhaps DR. Penalties are much more likely, but the system feels like it wants to keep penalties simple and broad, and special abilities interesting.

Maybe all light armour should have the same low AC, medium the same average AC, and heavy the same high AC, and cheap armour offers no benefit, while more expensive armours offer additional protection against certain damage types. 
No type of armor should ever become obsolete. There should be an advantage, however small, to each type (not counting price). Otherwise you end up with situation where, at higher levels, there are only a few armor types that anyone ever wears (for instance, breast plate as the only real choice for medium armor in 3e), and that hurts my play experience. You shouldn't have to take a complete and unmitigated mechanical penalty because you envision your medium armored character in scale or chain rather than a breastplate (3e versions).

3.5e fixed this problem (mostly) regarding weapons, but failed to address it regarding armor. -- Before commenting that not every armor has to be relevent to PCs, please re-read the preceding sentence. They specifically fixed the issue with weapons -- armor should be no different.



I agree that we want to avoid a situation where a few armor types are above all the others. Players should have a ton of good choices with different advantages. But I do think that it's good to have some crappy, low-cost equipment to round out the game world, in both weapons and armor.

There should never be "junk armor."

As it is, every edition of the game (except 4e) has had armor that had no reason to exist, play-balance wise. It was either inferior in every way to a similar armor, or the only advantage it had was price.

Price is not a balancing factor in mundane armor after 2 or 3 levels.

I don't like armor that is either junk from the get go (ie, only get it if you can't afford that extra 25 gp for the better type) or becomes obsolete by level 2-3.

No type of armor should ever become obsolete. There should be an advantage, however small, to each type (not counting price). Otherwise you end up with situation where, at higher levels, there are only a few armor types that anyone ever wears (for instance, breast plate as the only real choice for medium armor in 3e), and that hurts my play experience. You shouldn't have to take a complete and unmitigated mechanical penalty because you envision your medium armored character in scale or chain rather than a breastplate (3e versions).

3.5e fixed this problem (mostly) regarding weapons, but failed to address it regarding armor. -- Before commenting that not every armor has to be relevent to PCs, please re-read the preceding sentence. They specifically fixed the issue with weapons -- armor should be no different.



What about the campaign's culture and technology level?    Isn't that a good reason to have a bronze breast plate or the Gladius listed as options?

IMO, every armor does NOT have to be relavant mechanically.    If I want to make a fighter that uses padded armor that's my choice as a role player.   I wouldn't exept my padded armor to be as good as a guy in full plate.   

 


There should never be "junk armor."

As it is, every edition of the game (except 4e) has had armor that had no reason to exist, play-balance wise. It was either inferior in every way to a similar armor, or the only advantage it had was price.

Price is not a balancing factor in mundane armor after 2 or 3 levels.

I don't like armor that is either junk from the get go (ie, only get it if you can't afford that extra 25 gp for the better type) or becomes obsolete by level 2-3.

No type of armor should ever become obsolete. There should be an advantage, however small, to each type (not counting price). Otherwise you end up with situation where, at higher levels, there are only a few armor types that anyone ever wears (for instance, breast plate as the only real choice for medium armor in 3e), and that hurts my play experience. You shouldn't have to take a complete and unmitigated mechanical penalty because you envision your medium armored character in scale or chain rather than a breastplate (3e versions).

3.5e fixed this problem (mostly) regarding weapons, but failed to address it regarding armor. -- Before commenting that not every armor has to be relevent to PCs, please re-read the preceding sentence. They specifically fixed the issue with weapons -- armor should be no different.



I stated specifically that Protective, Mobile armor would cost double... Mundane AND Magical versions both. If a cheap, protective +1 armor was worth 2,000 gp, then a protective, mobile +1 armor would be worth 4,000 gp. By doubling the cost, it makes the armor a serious investment on the character's behalf. Like the example, if your armor is costing you 1/5 of your character wealth, having it cost another 1/5 makes it very expensive.

The same with weapons. Exotic (i.e. damaging and utility) weapons are harder to make and more difficult to enchant, therefore they cost twice as much.

Cost can be a very good way of balancing equipment. 
Knight90,

With magical armor, that works well.  The amount of character wealth involved in those investments continues to be relevant for a long time. However, with regards to mundane armor, it just doesn't cut it.
Apropos of nothing:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz7naZ08Jd4

Just worth noting that "heavy armour" was actual pretty mobile. I dunno if you'd want to run full out in it but it lets you do a lot considering it was mainly meant to be worn while on horseback.

p
_______________________ Why Pace Should be the Universal Unit for D&D Next http://community.wizards.com/padraigmac/blog/2012/05/29/why_pace_should_be_the_universal_unit_for_dd_next
If the goal is to have cheap crappy armour and superior expensive armour, then you really need a bigger price difference than the armour list currently has. Have leather armour cost only 1 gp, for example. Have ringmail cost maybe 5 gp. Have a chain shirt cost 200 gp. Then at least you'll have a difference that will remain relevant for a few sessions past character creation.
padraigmac, on the night before a battle, soldiers would even sleep in armour. Good armour is definitely not uncomfortable or restrictive. You have to be able to fight in it, after all. But you can tell in your video that it is heavy. He's not running or jumping anywhere near as easily as someone without armour. Everything is just a bit heavier and slower, and he'll get tired sooner.
how about returning the max dex module from 3e and only 2 categories from 4e?

Light armor:

name                         cost       AC bonus    max dex    skill penalty    speed penalty
leather armor           10gp         +2              +5                 -0                       -0
studded leather       25gp         +3              +4                 -0                       -0
chain shirt                75gp         +4              +3                 -1                       -0

heavy armor:

name                         cost       AC bonus    max dex    skill penalty    speed penalty

scale mail                100gp        +5              +3                 -1                      -5ft
chain mail                200gp        +6              +2                 -2                      -5ft
banded mail            300gp        +7              +1                 -3                      -5ft
plate mail                500gp        +8              +0                 -4                      -5ft 
I'm thinking that medium and heavy armour need to be buffed a bit.  Maybe add a point of AC to medium armour and 2 points to heavy.  I would suggest some form of damage reduction for heavy armour but that is dependant on how damage scales.  Judging by how HPs scale I'm guessing that damage does scale with level (otherwise fights at high level would take too long) so DR wouldn't work too well (unless it was tied to level or the HPs of the wearer which would make some kind of sense with the abstract nature of HPs).
I'd like to see something along the lines of: 

No Armor: Full Dex modifier or Intelligence modifier added to AC
Light Armor: Full Dex modifier added to AC
Medium Armor: Half Dex to AC and DR equal to half Con modifier
Heavy Armor: No Dex modifier to AC and DR equal to full Con mod 
I like the idea of making DR dependent on Con. Nobody ever chooses Con as the highest stat. Now there's good reason for high Con. (But what if your Con modifier is negative?)
I agree with the overall point of this thread. Every armor should have a real reason to be on that list.  

I do think that prices of mundane equipment should not be totally irrelevant by 3rd level, and the have been in every game I've played.  The economy of the game switches to "all magic, all the time" very quickly for the last 10 years.  
Well, going with the Proctection/Mobility/Price dynamic, most forms of armor would have to have the same base cost. Say, 50 gp? And protective mobile armor would have to cost 100 gp. Maybe it's not enough of a price difference, but it sounds pretty reasonable to me.

I'm not sure if I like the idea of adding intelligence to AC if unarmored.

Having Consitution as DR is a bit much for heavy armor. It's too much synergy with Con's hit points gains.

How's this:

Light Armor: Full Dex mod to AC, +4 AC from armor
Medium Armor: Half dex mod to AC, +4 AC from armor, Lesser Cushioning
Heavy Armor: No dex mod to AC, +4 AC from armor, Greater Cushioning

Lesser Cusioning: Whenever you take damage, for every 4 hit points of damage recieved (rounded up), 1 point of that damage is converted into Non-Lethal damage. Precision and spell damage is never converted.

Greater Cushioning: Wheneveryou take damage, for every 2 hit points of damage recived (rounded up), 1 points of that damage is converted into non-lethal damage. PRecision and spell damage is never converted.

So, light armor characters survive with mobility and higher AC, medium armor characters have decent AC and some of the damage is converted to bruising, and heavy armor character have low AC but half their damage is converted into bruising.

It makes more sense from a realism standpoint, I think. 
DR based on Con doesn't scale.  If it was based on a % of HP it would have a similar effect but would scale.

I don't think that heavy armour favouring high con would be 'too much synergy'.  High con (and strength) types would be more suited to wearing heavy armour anyway... due to the fatiguing affect of wearing it all day.  I know this wouldn't be a direct representation of that but I don't see encouraging the right kind of characters to wear the right kinds of armour a bad thing.
 
I don't like the idea of just having light/medium/heavy armour.  Don't like the idea that they all add the same to AC.  The cushioning idea being damage reduction based on actual damage taken means that it scales so I'm ok with that.
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