Problem with the AC ??

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Ok so my group had an 8 hour playtest run and loved the ideas and are now excited about the D&D Next. The only player that complained was my fighter character and once we all heard him out it made his point clear and I was confused.
The fighter who is supposed to be all about getting into the mix of things had a solid 15 AC but the rogue in leather also carried a healthy 15 AC wearing even lighter armor.
Armor differences between Dex based characters and heavy armor wearing classes are going to be close to equal and the heavy armor wearing characters have a movement penalty which is another strike ( agreeable but still another strike against them) Damage dealers and Tanks are two different things and if the damage dealers are going to be similiar in AC to a fighter then Rogues will dominate the fighters role.
Here is what I mean:

Dex modifier of 3


Light Armor – Chain Shirt = 17 AC


Medium Armor – Scale = 15 AC (rounding down)


Heavy Armor – Chainmail = 15 AC


not only does this not seem right it is expensive for the character buying the armor as Heavy armor is much more expensive than light armor.

Am I not understanding something here?
The AC thing you are pointing out is apparent in some form in every edition. Having a Good Dex score means you are allowed to have a hard to hit and still mobile fighter that does not suffer the penalties of heavy armor. Tanks can have good Dex too, in 3.5 there where many ways for fighters to use there Dex in heavy armor and attain higher AC than those with higher dex. I expect to see the same thing happen in 5th edition.

Me personally I am advocate of turning AC into damage reduction. It creates a differnce between hard to hit and tanky characters. But as it has always been AC is attainable by any class, through high dex, good armor, or defensive spells. All characters can get really good ac if they really tried.
I'm pretty sure WoTC will rework the numbers.  It just doesn't make sense.   

Perhaps they can give small DR boost for Medium and Heavy Armor, or they can make medium and heavy armor with higher AC with full DEX for PCs who have minimum strength prerequisites, etc.

We'll see. 

A Brave Knight of WTF

I'm pretty sure WoTC will rework the numbers.  It just doesn't make sense. 

The AC thing was always in there. Take a look at the earlier editions.

To explain the way it works, using three characters with +3 Dex(as per above example) the three in a combat will find the more agile light armoured person very difficult to hit AC 17, the scale armoured guy AC 15 and the third guy in Chain just as tricky to hit as the scale armoured guy AC 15.

However the three same individuals get jumped by invisible opponents, the light armoured guy is a lot easier to hit as they don't get their Dex to AC (AC 14), The scale guy is just as easy to hit(AC 14) and the guy in the chainmale is slightly better protected (AC 15).
So when denied Dexterity, the heavier armoured guy is better off.

A second aspect is for character without a good dex (being a priest and needing better Wisdom instead of a Dex) who would rather be wearing something that grants AC 15 than leather that grant AC 12.

This was always the advantage in AD&D. 
While what you're saying is true therion666, I think that (and I say this as a player who played 2nd edition and BECMI before that, up to 3.5 before converting to Pathfinder until now) the number of circumstances in AD&D that denied Dex bonus were few enough that that was never really considered a huge bonus.  Instead, the highest tiers of plate - which could then be added to with a shield and helm - had such a low AC that a typical leather+dex rogue was vastly overshadowed by a field plate+medium shield warrior.  The archetypical (and 'standard' armor for fighters in campaigns I was involved in) was nothing less than plate mail (-7 AC, or a 17 in modern terms).  An 18 dex couldn't match that for a leather-wearing rogue (studded leather could, of course, but then they were taking hits to their theiving abilities).

I think a rebalancing of the higher armors by a point or two would be helpful...and a small DR bonus (no more than 2-3 points) to differentiate them from the lighter but dex-using medium armors.  Just my opinion of course.  I feel it provides meaningful choice at each tier: full dex, a compromise for poor-dex characters with heavier armors, then finally no dex but DR.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

I played 2nd edition and then came back for 4th when I heard they were bringing back DarkSun. I really liked 4th edition but thought the armor ratings seemed off in that edition compared to 2nd. Maybe it is the whole D20 versus THACO system that makes it so different but a person would think if they spent a small fortune on Full plate armor that they would have the Highest AC possible and that is not the case.
Also taking in consideration that unlike 4th edition there are not regular ability increases that increase AC.
Examples
1. Fighter in plate armor. When a monster misses by 1 is he actually missing or hitting and doing no damage. To think that a warrior in plate is dodging 3 orcs who miss him in plate armor doesn't make much sense to just not getting past his armor to hurt him since he's wearing plate.
2. Tfe thief in leather with high dex. Are 3 orcs who miss by 1 hitting him and not getting pass tfe armor to hurt him or is the thief dodging tfe attacks that missed
I don't want to see damage reduction to be added as it just adds more to slow the game down.
The example of surprise no dex shows that without it yr ac is weaker than a fighter in plate with no dex. But how often is that ????
Also did yiu take into account shields. A better way to handle thus would be +1 to ac for small med shield +2 for large shields
Thus the fighter tank in plate with shield will have better ac than the thief who dodges without

Now we have to decide does the cleric cast spells by Verbal or somatic. If hand gestures are used by the cleric should they be allowed shield when casting spells.

But what if my fighter wants to use two swords with plate armor. Well then stick with the ac it gives with no dex or get chain or scale with a higher dex
Personally, I like the aesthetics of a lightly armored character more than a heavily armored one, so, ideally, I'd like them to both be able to acquire roughly the same AC.  I'm actually not a fan of penalizing anyone for wearing any sort of armor, except maybe for obvious things like swimming.
I think for the true old school feel the following should exist:

Wizard- squishy..always stays in back hits very very hard and very versitile with spells.
Cleric - defensive abilities and can deal out a little damage but main purpose healing.
Thief- The "skills guy" a little defense averaged between the wizard and cleric. Can put out some damage but due to abilities needs the lighter armor to pull out all of his tricks.
Fighter- Biggest defense in group damge in between the thief and wizard damage range. Fighters main purpose is to be able to take the damage( high hit points and high AC) so that the big damage dealers can get their hits in and the cleric is able to keep them from dropping dead.

I can see variations on this but basically it is the same in every system.
My point was being that the Thief is the highest AC in the game with the way the armor charts are set out. If you take the thief and put him in the Best armor in the charts he would have an 18 in each the warrior would have an 18 in only Heavy. I think Heavy armor should be the Best in armor but penalties for the high AC to make it balance out.

Maybe there again the best thing to do is make a feat for fighter " Tank- Your AC is increased by 2 due to vast knowledge of fighting skills and defenses." 
Despite the playtest 1st level hitpoint allocations, the fighter should have more than twice the hitpoints of rogue, as they level. So the fighter will be much tougher than the rogue. This is why the fighter can mix it up and the rogue can't.

It's just really not that big a deal. 
I think that people expect a "fighter" in D&D Next to fill the same role as a "fighter" in 4th ed.  If you look at the fighter provided in the playtest, it gives up a shield for a two-handed weapon so it is sacrificing defense for more damage output.  If memory serves, one of the clerics actually has the highest AC in the group.  If you wanted your fighter to be more of a tank character, you could probably build one better suited for that role.  
I heard that they are making a new video game, where you control the Netherese flying citadel of Sakkors, raining death on your helpless enemies below. Working title: Mythal Command.
Try this:

Revised Rule:
Heavy Armor adds +STR mod to AC, benefiting strong PCs.
Medium Armor adds +1/2 DEX mod plus +1/2 STR mod to AC, benefiting PCs with bonuses to both stats.

Seems a bit powerful at 1st level, but might work out well at 2nd/3rd levels and beyond.
The AC system is very simple, but unrealistic in that it provides an all or nothing approach to armor.  Realistically, armor is resistance and reduction, but in D&D armor functions as avoidance.  However, it is a massively simple mechanic that takes very little time to resolve at the table.  The advantage of this is a fast paced story oriented gaming experience.

A more realistic alternative would entail changing AC to only represent a character's capacity for avoidance (and probably rename it Defense).  Factors would include Dex, Defensive Skill, Shield, etc.  From there, armor would provide Damage Reduction based on how heavy it is (Padded = DR 1, Leather = DR 2, Studded Leather = DR3, etc.)  

While more realistic, this creates a situation where simple math calculations start to invade the real time play of the table, each slowing down combat actions.  This seems to be contrary to the approach of the new rules, which appear to be elegantly designed to be quick and simple to encourage the story to flow and unfold kinetically and naturally.  Each additional step added to combat resolution will only serve to slow it further, and establishing the precedent for doing so is in my opinion a bad idea, as it invites more steps being added to the very simple resolution mechanics currently in place.

As a simpler alternative, consider adding Resistance to the various forms of armor.

Light Armor = Resistant to Bludgeoning 
Medium Armor = Resistant to Bludgeoning and Slashing 
Heavy Armor = Resistant to Bludgeoning, Slashing, and Piercing. 

Perhaps also consider adding Vulnerability where appropriate, such as Vulnerability to Lightning for full suits of metal armor.

This alternative keeps things simple by making use of the existing AC rules, as well as the simpler Resistance / Vulnerability rules, while encouraging more heavily armored characters to be more 'tanky'. 



I would like to point out that in our play tests, our Fighter was very tanky, despite not really being designed for the role.  The fighter in the hand out was a damage dealer build.  However, he took damage well, and recovered it quickly via his d12 Hit Die on Short Rests.  The player was crafty, and frequently made use of the Defense action for +4 AC to 19, as well as describing his actions in ways that I granted Disadvantage to those attacking him.  He did not get hit very often when he did so.  He also hit like a cannon, and was one shotting most of what he hit.  

In my opinion, the Advantage and Disadvantage options applied based on player descriptions are what made the game truly great!  These rules encouraged a massive amount of roleplaying as players pushed for them, and helped success and failure correlate to what the player characters were doing.  This greatly helped enforce the sense of each character's role.  Honestly, a good player should perform very well in any role, so long as they are able to roleplay well, and isn't that the point to playing D&D?

The AC system is very simple, but unrealistic in that it provides an all or nothing approach to armor.  Realistically, armor is resistance and reduction, but in D&D armor functions as avoidance.  However, it is a massively simple mechanic that takes very little time to resolve at the table.  The advantage of this is a fast paced story oriented gaming experience.

A more realistic alternative would entail changing AC to only represent a character's capacity for avoidance (and probably rename it Defense).  Factors would include Dex, Defensive Skill, Shield, etc.  From there, armor would provide Damage Reduction based on how heavy it is (Padded = DR 1, Leather = DR 2, Studded Leather = DR3, etc.)  

While more realistic, this creates a situation where simple math calculations start to invade the real time play of the table, each slowing down combat actions.  This seems to be contrary to the approach of the new rules, which appear to be elegantly designed to be quick and simple to encourage the story to flow and unfold kinetically and naturally.  Each additional step added to combat resolution will only serve to slow it further, and establishing the precedent for doing so is in my opinion a bad idea, as it invites more steps being added to the very simple resolution mechanics currently in place.

As a simpler alternative, consider adding Resistance to the various forms of armor.

Light Armor = Resistant to Bludgeoning 
Medium Armor = Resistant to Bludgeoning and Slashing 
Heavy Armor = Resistant to Bludgeoning, Slashing, and Piercing. 

Perhaps also consider adding Vulnerability where appropriate, such as Vulnerability to Lightning for full suits of metal armor.

This alternative keeps things simple by making use of the existing AC rules, as well as the simpler Resistance / Vulnerability rules, while encouraging more heavily armored characters to be more 'tanky'. 



I would like to point out that in our play tests, our Fighter was very tanky, despite not really being designed for the role.  The fighter in the hand out was a damage dealer build.  However, he took damage well, and recovered it quickly via his d12 Hit Die on Short Rests.  The player was crafty, and frequently made use of the Defense action for +4 AC to 19, as well as describing his actions in ways that I granted Disadvantage to those attacking him.  He did not get hit very often when he did so.  He also hit like a cannon, and was one shotting most of what he hit.  

In my opinion, the Advantage and Disadvantage options applied based on player descriptions are what made the game truly great!  These rules encouraged a massive amount of roleplaying as players pushed for them, and helped success and failure correlate to what the player characters were doing.  This greatly helped enforce the sense of each character's role.  Honestly, a good player should perform very well in any role, so long as they are able to roleplay well, and isn't that the point to playing D&D?



Or simpler still, if HP is more abstract like it has been described as more of a survivability stat then maybe armor just gives more HP which increases per level so that it doesn't become useless at higher levels.
This is more indicative of what would actually be happening anyways. He would be getting hit more often but it would be hurting him a lot less.
Just a thought.


Or simpler still, if HP is more abstract like it has been described as more of a survivability stat then maybe armor just gives more HP which increases per level so that it doesn't become useless at higher levels.
This is more indicative of what would actually be happening anyways. He would be getting hit more often but it would be hurting him a lot less.
Just a thought.




I really like that!  It minimizes calculations during the combat turn, creates benefit for armor, but keeps things 'sensible'.

Something like +1 HP per HD for Padded, +2 HP per HD for Leather, +3 HP per HD for Studded Leather, etc., and each magical bonus adds another HP per HD.  Shields would also add HP in a similar manner.

As long as this bonus is considered technically separate from the character's inherent HP, and refreshes after each encounter or Short Rest, I think it would work.  It could even be called Armor Class, but simply represent an additional pool of HP.  The current character sheet has both of these values right next to one another, so it wouldn't even have to be redesigned.  For avoidance, characters could simply apply their Dex Mod as a DC against incoming attacks.  (I would suggest reducing the size of Hit Dice if this is the case.)

However, this idea is a bit radical.  I doubt it will catch on.  I think D&D is firmly entrenched in the AC as avoidance mechanic.  Might be a good homebrew option though.

Or simpler still, if HP is more abstract like it has been described as more of a survivability stat then maybe armor just gives more HP which increases per level so that it doesn't become useless at higher levels.
This is more indicative of what would actually be happening anyways. He would be getting hit more often but it would be hurting him a lot less.
Just a thought.




I really like that!  It minimizes calculations during the combat turn, creates benefit for armor, but keeps things 'sensible'.

Something like +1 HP per HD for Padded, +2 HP per HD for Leather, +3 HP per HD for Studded Leather, etc., and each magical bonus adds another HP per HD.  Shields would also add HP in a similar manner.

As long as this bonus is considered technically separate from the character's inherent HP, and refreshes after each encounter or Short Rest, I think it would work.  It could even be called Armor Class, but simply represent an additional pool of HP.  The current character sheet has both of these values right next to one another, so it wouldn't even have to be redesigned.  For avoidance, characters could simply apply their Dex Mod as a DC against incoming attacks.  (I would suggest reducing the size of Hit Dice if this is the case.)

However, this idea is a bit radical.  I doubt it will catch on.  I think D&D is firmly entrenched in the AC as avoidance mechanic.  Might be a good homebrew option though.


Yeah I know it won't catch on but I think it has real merit.
Some armours would actually add to your "passive dex save" a little bit as a deflection bonus ( any armour with metal anyways ).
But I think it might have to more than you've indicate it would have to equal out to the amount of shots that you would otherwise completely be avoiding.

I agree that something is a bit off with the armor system in the playtest. 

I see what they are trying to do with it.  In a lot of ways, I see what they are doing with this edition is sort of a cross between B/X and third edition.  Or, more specifically, going back to the simplicity of B/X in a lot of ways, but incorporating what they see as the best parts of the later editions into it--just because we are going back to the simplicity of B/X, doesn't mean we have to discard the innovations worth keeping since then. 

The current armor system is similar to the 3.X armor system, but more simplified.  In 3.X, among other things, each type of armor had a "maximum dex bonus" property, representing the maximum dexterity bonus to AC that the armor allows.  Chainmail armor had an armor bonus of +5, and a max Dex bonus of +2, so a character with 18 dexterity wearing chainmail would only get +2 to AC due to dexterity. 

This system in 3.X made a lot of sense, even though it would have made more sense to me to raise the Maximum Dex Bonus across the board for most of the armor types.  I never did house rule Max Dex Bonus while DMing 3.X though, and it seemed to worked OK for the most part.  At high levels the existence of mithril armor helped in that regard--I think I would have needed to tweak things if mithril armor had not increased Maximum Dex Bonus as it did.  (The one tweak I did make was to give full plate armor a +9 armor bonus (rather than +8), but I didn't change the Max Dex Bonus of anything).   Although the temptation exists to add +1 or +2 across the board to the given Maximum Dexterity Bonuses of 3.X, which would make more sense to me. 

The current D&D Next system is basically taking the 3.X system for armor, but simplifying it.  At first blush, that makes a lot of sense.  Arguably, it is difficult to remember the separate Max Dex Bonus of each separate type of armor, and it simply adds unneeded complexity.  I don't even have to look at the book now--I can easily remember that medium armor gives half dexerity bonus and heavy armor gives none. 

But it doesn't quite work as is.  Maybe it's close to working, but it's a little off.  Although it provides greater simplicity, I think treating all medium armor the same and all heavy armor the same doesn't quite work and doesn't quite make sense.   While I could maybe accept the idea that splint armor provides no dexterity bonus, I have a hard time accepting the idea that banded mail provides no dexterity bonus.  I understand the desire for simpler rules, but all heavy armor is not created equal.  Nor is all medium armor created equal. 

Another issue is that the current armor system exacerbates the potential problem of dexterity now being too good.  A melee fighter is normally all about a high strength score.  But now, a fighter can add not just attack bonus, but damage with finesse weapons and ranged weapons based on dexterity.  I don't know that this is a good change.   So, when using those weapons, dexterity does everything that strength does for normal melee weapons--AND dexterity also improves initiative, AC, and dexterity saving throws (which are arguably more important than strength saving throws). 

This armor system only make this issue worse, and it seems that fighters should now ignore strength and only worry about dexterity, and wear a chain shirt.  If they want to do melee, they can just use a finesse weapon.   There's little place for the heavy-armor wearing longsword-wieldling fighter--the light armor finesse weapon-wielding fighter is better in every way.  We would expect the heavy-armor wielding fighter to be less mobile, but better protected. 

The OP's example of 17 for light armor versus 15 for the other two types is a good example of how the current system doesn't quite make sense as is.  The fighter player in my playtest thought that, as is, there is not sufficient reason to wear heavy armor, as opposed to the benefits such armor would realistically provide relative to light armor.  The system might work well with a little tweaking.

If they do keep the armor system similar to how it is now, I also think it's important that there exists armor with improved ability use dexterity, whether as a property of certain magical armor or as a special material (like how mithril armor worked in 3.X).
I would like to mention that I've fought in the SCA (a full contact / full armor) medieval reinactment society for over 20 years.  If realism is something that is sought in the new rules, might I present a few observations?

1.  The body adapts to the armor - not only the wieght / mass, but also adapts to the restriction of movement, which is actually not as bad as most might people assume once a person becomes used to wearing the armor (aka Proficient). After a few weeks, it becomes like a second skin.  When fitted correctly, these types of armors are designed to have good range of movement, and you subconsciously learn to work around any restrictions in movement in a relatively short period of time.

2.  Once  a person has adapted to armor, it has little to no effect on their ability to block or parry.  As counter intuitive as it may seem, when we tested fencing in heavy armor vs no armor, there was little difference in performance by fighters who were comfortable in their heavy armor (aka Proficient).

3.  If you're strong enough to move in armor, it seems to only serve to act as Encumbrance, which can affect the ability to dodge, but heavily armored characters would be describing their defenses as blocks, parries, or simply letting the armor shrug off the hit.  Therefore, the Encumbrance rules combined with 'common sense' use of the Disadvantage rules in certain situations (such as attempting an acrobatics feat) are enough to balance Armor.

Since there were two rather clear goals with D&D Next (which were keep things simple and pull back players from Pathfinder who didn't like 4th Edition), I think the best solution would be the following:

- Import the AC tables from 3rd Edition, with respect to what armor creates what AC, and add 10 inherently for simplicity as per the new approach.
(11 AC Padded, 12 AC Leather, 13 AC Studded Leather, etc.)
(This keeps AC as an avoidance defense, but also maintains the simplified mechanic.  Adding more HP would make fights longer.  Converting AC to Resistance would add more steps.  Both would slow down the combat round.  This also provides a familiarity point on one of the major mechanics for the players who favored 3rd ed.)

- Assign a Strength minimum to each type of armor to wear the armor proficiently.  
(I would suggest STR 6 for Padded, STR 7 for Leather, STR 8 for Studded Leather, etc.  This would put the heavier armors like Plate in the 14-16 STR range, which would be restrictive to characters that weren't STR focused, but not require unrealistic levels of Strength.  To justify increased or reduced costs for armors with the same AC, simply adjust the STR minimum.) 

- If a character does not meet the Strength Requirement, they may not add their Dex mod to AC.  If a character meets the Strength Requirement, they may add their Dex mod to AC.
(One step of reference with a yes/no result vs. calculations)

This is actually simpler than the half or no Dex mod mechanic, and is also a little more realistic with respect to the abstraction that is represented by AC and HP.  Extremely strong characters are not going to be hindered by heavier armors if they are Proficient, but characters that are not as strong may be hindered by those armors even if they are Proficient.

Also, I would assume that a character wearing an armor with which they are not Proficient should simply incur Disadvantage on all physical attacks, actions, and saves (but not defenses since the armor alone would protect).  Again, simple yes/no conditions vs. calculations.
Here is a specific list of armors to illustrate my suggestion above about meeting STR minimum in order to be able to utilize Dex Mod,
(with a specialty armor example for each type).

Light
Padded 11 AC / STR Min 9
Leather 12 AC / STR Min 10
Studded Leather 13 AC / STR Min 11
(Mithril Chain Shirt 14 AC / STR Min 6)


Medium
Ringmail or Hide 14 AC / STR Min 12
Chainmail 15 AC / STR Min 13
Scale 16 AC / STR Min 14
(Dragon Scale 16 AC / STR Min 10)


Heavy
Splint or Brigandine 17 AC / STR Min 15
Banded or Half Plate 18 AC / STR Min 16
Plate or Field Plate 19 AC / STR Min 17
Heavy Plate 20 AC / STR Min 18
(Adamantine 21 AC / STR Min 16)


Shields
Small Shield +1 AC / STR Min 10
Large Shield +2 AC / STR Min 14
Tower Shield +3 AC / STR Min 18

Considering that the point buy system scales costs for Ability Scores upward, this means that characters intending to wear heavier armors are going to be unlikely to develop high Dex and vice versa, so even if they do buy the Strength to meet the STR Min so they can also add their Dex Mod, they likely won't have much of a Dex Mod to add.  It looks as if these costs would balance out.  

Using my suggestion, here's a comparison chart.
18 STR + 10 Dex = AC 20 (AC 20 +0 DEX Mod).
16 STR + 14 Dex = AC 20 (AC 18 +2 DEX Mod).  
16 DEX + 14 STR = AC 19 (AC 16 +3 DEX Mod).
18 DEX + 10 STR = AC 16 (AC 12 +4 DEX Mod).  
A little tweaking will likely balance this even further. 


I would like to mention that I've fought in the SCA (a full contact / full armor) medieval reinactment society for over 20 years.  If realism is something that is sought in the new rules, might I present a few observations?

1.  The body adapts to the armor - not only the wieght / mass, but also adapts to the restriction of movement, which is actually not as bad as most might people assume once a person becomes used to wearing the armor (aka Proficient). After a few weeks, it becomes like a second skin.  When fitted correctly, these types of armors are designed to have good range of movement, and you subconsciously learn to work around any restrictions in movement in a relatively short period of time.

2.  Once  a person has adapted to armor, it has little to no effect on their ability to block or parry.  As counter intuitive as it may seem, when we tested fencing in heavy armor vs no armor, there was little difference in performance by fighters who were comfortable in their heavy armor (aka Proficient).

3.  If you're strong enough to move in armor, it seems to only serve to act as Encumbrance, which can affect the ability to dodge, but heavily armored characters would be describing their defenses as blocks, parries, or simply letting the armor shrug off the hit.  Therefore, the Encumbrance rules combined with 'common sense' use of the Disadvantage rules in certain situations (such as attempting an acrobatics feat) are enough to balance Armor.

Since there were two rather clear goals with D&D Next (which were keep things simple and pull back players from Pathfinder who didn't like 4th Edition), I think the best solution would be the following:

- Import the AC tables from 3rd Edition, with respect to what armor creates what AC, and add 10 inherently for simplicity as per the new approach.
(11 AC Padded, 12 AC Leather, 13 AC Studded Leather, etc.)
(This keeps AC as an avoidance defense, but also maintains the simplified mechanic.  Adding more HP would make fights longer.  Converting AC to Resistance would add more steps.  Both would slow down the combat round.  This also provides a familiarity point on one of the major mechanics for the players who favored 3rd ed.)

- Assign a Strength minimum to each type of armor to wear the armor proficiently.  
(I would suggest STR 6 for Padded, STR 7 for Leather, STR 8 for Studded Leather, etc.  This would put the heavier armors like Plate in the 14-16 STR range, which would be restrictive to characters that weren't STR focused, but not require unrealistic levels of Strength.  To justify increased or reduced costs for armors with the same AC, simply adjust the STR minimum.) 

- If a character does not meet the Strength Requirement, they may not add their Dex mod to AC.  If a character meets the Strength Requirement, they may add their Dex mod to AC.
(One step of reference with a yes/no result vs. calculations)

This is actually simpler than the half or no Dex mod mechanic, and is also a little more realistic with respect to the abstraction that is represented by AC and HP.  Extremely strong characters are not going to be hindered by heavier armors if they are Proficient, but characters that are not as strong may be hindered by those armors even if they are Proficient.

Also, I would assume that a character wearing an armor with which they are not Proficient should simply incur Disadvantage on all physical attacks, actions, and saves (but not defenses since the armor alone would protect).  Again, simple yes/no conditions vs. calculations.




I like this a lot. This is brilliant! I hope the guy reworking the armor sees this and uses it.
 
Since there were two rather clear goals with D&D Next (which were keep things simple and pull back players from Pathfinder who didn't like 4th Edition), I think the best solution would be the following:

- Import the AC tables from 3rd Edition, with respect to what armor creates what AC, and add 10 inherently for simplicity as per the new approach.
(11 AC Padded, 12 AC Leather, 13 AC Studded Leather, etc.)
(This keeps AC as an avoidance defense, but also maintains the simplified mechanic.  Adding more HP would make fights longer.  Converting AC to Resistance would add more steps.  Both would slow down the combat round.  This also provides a familiarity point on one of the major mechanics for the players who favored 3rd ed.)

- Assign a Strength minimum to each type of armor to wear the armor proficiently.  
(I would suggest STR 6 for Padded, STR 7 for Leather, STR 8 for Studded Leather, etc.  This would put the heavier armors like Plate in the 14-16 STR range, which would be restrictive to characters that weren't STR focused, but not require unrealistic levels of Strength.  To justify increased or reduced costs for armors with the same AC, simply adjust the STR minimum.) 

- If a character does not meet the Strength Requirement, they may not add their Dex mod to AC.  If a character meets the Strength Requirement, they may add their Dex mod to AC.
(One step of reference with a yes/no result vs. calculations)

This is actually simpler than the half or no Dex mod mechanic, and is also a little more realistic with respect to the abstraction that is represented by AC and HP.  Extremely strong characters are not going to be hindered by heavier armors if they are Proficient, but characters that are not as strong may be hindered by those armors even if they are Proficient.

Also, I would assume that a character wearing an armor with which they are not Proficient should simply incur Disadvantage on all physical attacks, actions, and saves (but not defenses since the armor alone would protect).  Again, simple yes/no conditions vs. calculations. 

Here is a specific list of armors to illustrate my suggestion above about meeting STR minimum in order to be able to utilize Dex Mod, (with a specialty armor example for each type).

Light
Padded 11 AC / STR Min 9
Leather 12 AC / STR Min 10
Studded Leather 13 AC / STR Min 11
(Mithril Chain Shirt 14 AC / STR Min 6)


Medium
Ringmail or Hide 14 AC / STR Min 12
Chainmail 15 AC / STR Min 13
Scale 16 AC / STR Min 14
(Dragon Scale 16 AC / STR Min 10)


Heavy
Splint or Brigandine 17 AC / STR Min 15
Banded or Half Plate 18 AC / STR Min 16
Plate or Field Plate 19 AC / STR Min 17
Heavy Plate 20 AC / STR Min 18
(Adamantine 21 AC / STR Min 16)


Shields
Small Shield +1 AC / STR Min 10
Large Shield +2 AC / STR Min 14
Tower Shield +3 AC / STR Min 18

Considering that the point buy system scales costs for Ability Scores upward, this means that characters intending to wear heavier armors are going to be unlikely to develop high Dex and vice versa, so even if they do buy the Strength to meet the STR Min so they can also add their Dex Mod, they likely won't have much of a Dex Mod to add.  It looks as if these costs would balance out.  

Using my suggestion, here's a comparison chart.
18 STR + 10 Dex = AC 20 (AC 20 +0 DEX Mod).
16 STR + 14 Dex = AC 20 (AC 18 +2 DEX Mod).  
16 DEX + 14 STR = AC 19 (AC 16 +3 DEX Mod).
18 DEX + 10 STR = AC 16 (AC 12 +4 DEX Mod).  
A little tweaking will likely balance this even further. 


 


I like this a lot. This is brilliant! I hope the guy reworking the armor sees this and uses it.



Thanks!
Agree. I  thank that would fix everything all in itself
Here is a specific list of armors to illustrate my suggestion above about meeting STR minimum in order to be able to utilize Dex Mod,
(with a specialty armor example for each type).

Light
Padded 11 AC / STR Min 9
Leather 12 AC / STR Min 10
Studded Leather 13 AC / STR Min 11
(Mithril Chain Shirt 14 AC / STR Min 6)


Medium
Ringmail or Hide 14 AC / STR Min 12
Chainmail 15 AC / STR Min 13
Scale 16 AC / STR Min 14
(Dragon Scale 16 AC / STR Min 10)


Heavy
Splint or Brigandine 17 AC / STR Min 15
Banded or Half Plate 18 AC / STR Min 16
Plate or Field Plate 19 AC / STR Min 17
Heavy Plate 20 AC / STR Min 18
(Adamantine 21 AC / STR Min 16)


Shields
Small Shield +1 AC / STR Min 10
Large Shield +2 AC / STR Min 14
Tower Shield +3 AC / STR Min 18

Considering that the point buy system scales costs for Ability Scores upward, this means that characters intending to wear heavier armors are going to be unlikely to develop high Dex and vice versa, so even if they do buy the Strength to meet the STR Min so they can also add their Dex Mod, they likely won't have much of a Dex Mod to add.  It looks as if these costs would balance out.  

Using my suggestion, here's a comparison chart.
18 STR + 10 Dex = AC 20 (AC 20 +0 DEX Mod).
16 STR + 14 Dex = AC 20 (AC 18 +2 DEX Mod).  
16 DEX + 14 STR = AC 19 (AC 16 +3 DEX Mod).
18 DEX + 10 STR = AC 16 (AC 12 +4 DEX Mod).  
A little tweaking will likely balance this even further. 




This is excellent, really good, thank you.



(...)

Heavy
Splint or Brigandine 17 AC / STR Min 15
Banded or Half Plate 18 AC / STR Min 16
Plate or Field Plate 19 AC / STR Min 17
Heavy Plate 20 AC / STR Min 18
(Adamantine 21 AC / STR Min 16)



Shields
Small Shield +1 AC / STR Min 10
Large Shield +2 AC / STR Min 14
Tower Shield +3 AC / STR Min 18

Considering that the point buy system scales costs for Ability Scores upward, this means that characters intending to wear heavier armors are going to be unlikely to develop high Dex and vice versa, so even if they do buy the Strength to meet the STR Min so they can also add their Dex Mod, they likely won't have much of a Dex Mod to add.  It looks as if these costs would balance out.  



This is easy to break. A fighter can easily, with a not-so-CharOped player, put everything on STR and DEX and end up with something like 18, 18, 10, 10, 10, 8 or whatever. If someone say it looks bland, 16 DEX then.

That`s 27 AC at level one (or 26 for DEX 16) right here: 20 (full plate) + 3 (tower shield) + 4 (DEX).

Oh, and +4 to all attacks and damage.

Little sacrifice here since, with the current state of the playtest, CON doesn`t do that much anyway, see this thread:
community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...


I believe just keeping what we have at the playtest, but making sure that heavy armor AC bonus alone is bigger than light/medium + DEX is enough balance.

On the realism thing, however, I agree. Maybe there`s a way tweak it just right, or another idea that keeps both balance and realism.

My character is called Ryotto Tyrannicide, wich comes from "tyrannicidal riot". He wields two magic swords: King Beheader (as in "Beheader of Kings", not "King the Beheader") and Chain Splitter. He's also a bit of a skirt-chaser. So yeah, I REALLY hope you have some Lawful Evil bad guys prepared for me. Government/trade/church conspiracies are optional, but highly recommended.
Would this work ok if dex bonuses were also capped at +3 medium armour and +2 heavy armour?
Would this work ok if dex bonuses were also capped at +3 medium armour and +2 heavy armour?




That brings it down to 25 AC, and mean 18 STR and 14 DEX builds as the default. Sounds good statwise, but Armor bonus to AC should be lower in my opinion. How about less armors? There must be a way to keep heavy armor a good distance ahead from light armor. Then again, this aggravates the "everyone needs high DEX" problem. 
My character is called Ryotto Tyrannicide, wich comes from "tyrannicidal riot". He wields two magic swords: King Beheader (as in "Beheader of Kings", not "King the Beheader") and Chain Splitter. He's also a bit of a skirt-chaser. So yeah, I REALLY hope you have some Lawful Evil bad guys prepared for me. Government/trade/church conspiracies are optional, but highly recommended.
Don't look at the bare AC in isolation though.  PCs with 18 str and 18 Dex may be harder to hit and tough but their saving throws and many key skill rolls will worse and hp wiill be slightly lower on average in a rolled hp system.  Plus using a shield has advantages but you might miss out on higher damage afforded by two-handed weapons and two-weapon fighting, leaving monsters alive longer and thus capable of rolling to hit more often.  Plus level 1 characters are unlikely to be able afford plate mail and large shield.  That usually comes later.  The question is whether the system balances overall.

We're adding layers of complication to make the maths work but would capping medium armour at +3 and applying half dex score capped at +2 for heavy armour bring matters back in line?  so 14-17 grants +1 18+20 grants +2.  You'd have to invest some serious dexterity for average benefits?
STR min for Dex bonus is really clever and elegant. I kinda' want to try it. If some dude wants to break it, it's his problem? but really. I guess that's not the right answer.

I mean, if you took a build with 18 str and 18 dex and it happened to be a dwarf with a resistance to poison (a common way to hurt characters with low Con)?  tough cookie using this system... 
A few guidelines for using the internet: 1. Mentally add "In my opinion" to the end of basically anything someone else says. Of course it's their opinion, they don't need to let you know. You're pretty smart. 2. Assume everyone means everything in the best manner they could mean it. Save yourself some stress and give people the benefit of the doubt. We'll all be happier if we type less emoticons. 3. Don't try to read people's minds. Sometimes people mean exactly what they say. You probably don't know them any better than they know themselves. 4. Let grammar slide. If you understood what they meant, you're good. It's better for your health. 5. Breath. It's just a dumb game.
I too like min str to wear as a simple fix, but I think it does lead to the too much AC if someone decides to push high STR and DEX. I agree that is someone wants to min/max, fine, but in terms of game design, such a maxed AC build should be considered a "boundry condition". Is this acceptable in a CORE game? Is this better suited for a module?

A more compliated approach (ACP = Armor Check Penlty):

If STR bonus + ACP >= DEX Bonus
then DEX Bonus + Base Armor
else DEX Bonus + ACP + Base Armor

What does this mean? If your strength can "overcome" the Armor Check Penalty you get the full dex bonus, otherwise the ACP becomes a penalty to AC.

In the extreme case of 18 str and 18 dex, the tables above apply, that is STR always overcomes ACP.
In the case of 10 str and 18 dex, Full Plate is still an option and will still give better AC, but the ACP effectively cancels the high dex.

Read through this thread, some good ideas and insight.  One thing I have not seen but would like to point out is that in these early rules, I think we all know we don't have all of the information.  The designers have stated that ALL damage has a type now... that being said, I believe that the armor values will probably remain as they are or close to them (for the record, I still think heavy armor should grant a higher AC).  The main reason I think armor values will remain as they are is this:  I believe that there will be a DR (Damage Reduction) mechanic introduced that will grant the wearer of heavier armor protection from certain weapon damage types... or perhaps an "old school" bonus (or sometimes penalty) to AC versus specific weapon types.  Examples below.

Let's just take the main 3 Heavy Armors, Chain Mail, Banded Mail & Plate Mail, AC 15, 16 & 17 respectively.  Looking back and consulting the Optional Rules from the 2E PHB concerning Weapon Types vs Armor, each of the armors are granted the following, reversing the math because back then, it was applied to THACO (To Hit AC 0 for those who don't know):
Chain would give you +2AC vs Slashing & -2AC vs Blunt.
Banded would give you +2AC vs Slashing & +1AC vs Blunt.
Plate would give you +3AC vs Slashing.

So, if you're a heavily armored fighter and are attacked by a sword of axe wielder, you would effectively have a 20AC that they would have to overcome to "hit" you.  That brings up the abstraction of hit or miss.  A character in plate mail might take several hits on his/her armor that do little more than make noise and maybe sting the wearer a little bit; playing out combat, the "hit" represents that one chance each round to penetrate the defenses (including armor) of you opponent.  Anyhow, just making the point that I think that we'll see some sort of mechanic in the final version of the rules that makes Heavy Armor worth not getting a DEX bonus that can potentially equall the same AC for less cost & weight in the form of Light or Medium armor.  There has to be something, otherwise, it just doesn't make sense...
Anyhow, just making the point that I think that we'll see some sort of mechanic in the final version of the rules that makes Heavy Armor worth not getting a DEX bonus that can potentially equall the same AC for less cost & weight in the form of Light or Medium armor.  There has to be something, otherwise, it just doesn't make sense...



I'd agree, but I don't know to what extent. I think heavy armor does need some "oomph" to make it better, but also, there's the fact that getting a Dex bonus, if you look at it through opportunity cost, would make the other ability scores suffer. For example a fighter wanted to wear a chain shirt, and have a dex bonus, then they'd be giving up potential strength. Admittedly, as it stands, the trade off seems worth it, but what I'd want to see is that the advantage leans towards using Heavy armor, but not so much that it tips the other way. For example, I think there is design space for a Fighter with a high dex bonus, who wears a chain shirt, in the archetype of a swashbuckler, and while that probably shouldn't be the norm for a fighter, it shouldn't be too penalized either.

I am currently raising funds to run for President in 2016. Too many administrations have overlooked the international menace, that is Carmen Sandiego. I shall devote any and all necessary military resources to bring her to justice.

Personally, I like the aesthetics of a lightly armored character more than a heavily armored one, so, ideally, I'd like them to both be able to acquire roughly the same AC.  I'm actually not a fan of penalizing anyone for wearing any sort of armor, except maybe for obvious things like swimming.


The issue with this is that being a Light Armour Tank is now a better choice.  Because of Finesse Weapons.  Instead of having to split your stats in two, like Strength to Hit and Dex for Defense, you can now pump up Dexterity, ignore strength, and be just as tanky with but a single stat.
Back to the topic of rogues' ac vs fighters' ac, I don't think I'd mind the potential disparity so much if there was the potential for fighters to take a more active role in tanking. I know one of the things that made people cry "zomg! Tabletop WoW!" about 4e was fighters' marks, but it did make some sense. Why else would a monster attack a heavily armored fighter, instead of a tasty cleric? It was one of the things that just, even if other classes could avoid attacks better, with a specific build, no one could tank like a fighter. And that made fighters feel fightery. Maybe they could carry something like this over to Next, as a talent, but it would (normally) require heavy armor, the same way guardian seems to require a shield.

I am currently raising funds to run for President in 2016. Too many administrations have overlooked the international menace, that is Carmen Sandiego. I shall devote any and all necessary military resources to bring her to justice.

Human stat bonuses as they are would make it too easy to have a character who has a very high strength AND dexterity.  They could get +2 to both if they are fighters.  Rolling for stats make it very unlikely that they would end up with 2 18s but that has a whole different set of problems.  If humans get reduced stat bonuses e.g. +1 to 4 stats only, it mitigates the points buy somewhat but it's still potentially overbalancing.

We also have to bear in mind bounded accuracy and magical bonuses.  If dexterity is added to heavier armours then I think that they might need to limit magical armour bonuses and/or magical shield bonuses.  If dexterity doesn't add then they can just limit magical bonuses on light armours.  Under the old 1e rules only mithral could be enchanted to +4 and only adamantine could be enchanted to +5.  They can just as easily limit light armours to +1, medium armours to +2, heavy armours to +3, and shields to +1 with magical properties having more significance than pluses. 

Mithral +1 heavy shield +1 20 dex AC24
Dragonscale +2 heavy shield +1 18 dex AC25
Adamantine +3 heavy shield +1 10 dex AC25

At the very least this could be one factor in bounding the uppermost levels of AC.

Feats could also be added so that PCs with high dex get to increase +1 of their dex mod to AC.

Read through this thread, some good ideas and insight.  One thing I have not seen but would like to point out is that in these early rules, I think we all know we don't have all of the information.  The designers have stated that ALL damage has a type now... that being said, I believe that the armor values will probably remain as they are or close to them (for the record, I still think heavy armor should grant a higher AC).  The main reason I think armor values will remain as they are is this:  I believe that there will be a DR (Damage Reduction) mechanic introduced that will grant the wearer of heavier armor protection from certain weapon damage types... or perhaps an "old school" bonus (or sometimes penalty) to AC versus specific weapon types.  Examples below.

Let's just take the main 3 Heavy Armors, Chain Mail, Banded Mail & Plate Mail, AC 15, 16 & 17 respectively.  Looking back and consulting the Optional Rules from the 2E PHB concerning Weapon Types vs Armor, each of the armors are granted the following, reversing the math because back then, it was applied to THACO (To Hit AC 0 for those who don't know):
Chain would give you +2AC vs Slashing & -2AC vs Blunt.
Banded would give you +2AC vs Slashing & +1AC vs Blunt.
Plate would give you +3AC vs Slashing.

So, if you're a heavily armored fighter and are attacked by a sword of axe wielder, you would effectively have a 20AC that they would have to overcome to "hit" you.  That brings up the abstraction of hit or miss.  A character in plate mail might take several hits on his/her armor that do little more than make noise and maybe sting the wearer a little bit; playing out combat, the "hit" represents that one chance each round to penetrate the defenses (including armor) of you opponent.  Anyhow, just making the point that I think that we'll see some sort of mechanic in the final version of the rules that makes Heavy Armor worth not getting a DEX bonus that can potentially equall the same AC for less cost & weight in the form of Light or Medium armor.  There has to be something, otherwise, it just doesn't make sense...


Yeah, but I can't imagine them using anything too much like that because it's basically going back to having a Frot, Ref, Will & AC. Only now, I'll have ac for Blunt, slash, peirce & base AC.

I wonder if it won't end up being something a little goofier than what we're all saying?
Like, med armor lets you give an enemy disadvantage on a "to hit" roll once a day.
Heavy does it twice a day? Basically, allowing players with "heavier" armor to get a reroll on an attack or two that hits them?

Stilll seems like too much to track for just armor. Why can't we just make light armor worse again?

A few guidelines for using the internet: 1. Mentally add "In my opinion" to the end of basically anything someone else says. Of course it's their opinion, they don't need to let you know. You're pretty smart. 2. Assume everyone means everything in the best manner they could mean it. Save yourself some stress and give people the benefit of the doubt. We'll all be happier if we type less emoticons. 3. Don't try to read people's minds. Sometimes people mean exactly what they say. You probably don't know them any better than they know themselves. 4. Let grammar slide. If you understood what they meant, you're good. It's better for your health. 5. Breath. It's just a dumb game.

I agree that straight-up damage reduction is a little too much math - at least compared to what they're doing now.  Unfortunately that means armor has to do all the work on the armor side, as opposed to the enemy's damage side.


Like others, I really like the STR requirement for armor in allowing DEX to add to AC.  The STR requirements may need to be adjusted upward - and perhaps fewer types of armor and taking costs into account would help - but it's a solid idea:  anything that is easy to understand from the player's perspective when shopping for ways to improve the character and also does not require mid-combat math is a good thing.  STR requirements are a little tricky, but still certainly better than a max DEX bonus, which makes less intuitive sense unless you remember how all the pieces fit together:  it's counterintuitive that sometimes a lower armor number means a higher AC.



Maybe a less-breakable chart could look more like this (using the armor from the playtest):


Light
Leather 11 AC / STR Min 8 - 10g
Studded Leather 12 AC / STR Min 9 - 25g
Chain Shirt 13 AC / STR Min 10 - 100g (much more expensive than ringmail)
(Mithril Chain Shirt 14 AC / STR Min 9 - 2500g)

Medium
Ringmail 13 AC / STR Min 13 - 35g
Scale 14 AC / STR Min 14 - 50g
Splint 15 AC / STR Min 15 - 500g (much more expensive than chainmail, no penalty)
(Dragon Scale 16 AC / STR Min 14 - 5000g)

Heavy
Chainmail 15 AC / STR Min 16 - 100g, -5 ft movement
Banded 16 AC / STR Min 17 - 500g , -5 ft movement
Plate 17 AC / STR Min 18 - 1500g , -5 ft movement
(Adamantine 18 AC / STR Min 17) - 15,000g , -5 ft movement

Shields
Small Shield +1 AC / STR Min 11 - 10g
Large Shield +2 AC / STR Min 15 - 50g



In this example, an 18-14 fighter (which I think is more possible than an 18-16) could have a level 1 AC of 17 + 2 + 2 = 21.  Except they absolutely could NOT, because plate costs 1500g.  More likely they'd have 15 + 2 + 2 = 19 AC (chainmail + large shield + dex), although that's still very expensive (150g).  They might have to bump it down to a light shield or maybe scale (total 18).  Meanwhile, a 14-18 rogue could have a 14 + 4 = 18 AC (scale), which is not quite as good but using a lot less armor.  And that's still a bit expensive; they may end up having to go with ringmail (total 17)  to afford thieves' tools.  These min/max numbers are higher than the playtest guys, but using the playtest attributes the fighter/M-cleric/rogue's AC would be:  16 (chainmail) / 16 (scale + large shield) / 14 (leather).  Honestly I think it works pretty well!



(snip)

In this example, an 18-14 fighter (which I think is more possible than an 18-16) could have a level 1 AC of 17 + 2 + 2 = 21.  Except they absolutely could NOT, because plate costs 1500g.  More likely they'd have 15 + 2 + 2 = 19 AC (chainmail + large shield + dex), although that's still very expensive (150g).  They might have to bump it down to a light shield or maybe scale (total 18).  Meanwhile, a 14-18 rogue could have a 14 + 4 = 18 AC (scale), which is not quite as good but using a lot less armor.  And that's still a bit expensive; they may end up having to go with ringmail (total 17)  to afford thieves' tools.  These min/max numbers are higher than the playtest guys, but using the playtest attributes the fighter/M-cleric/rogue's AC would be:  16 (chainmail) / 16 (scale + large shield) / 14 (leather).  Honestly I think it works pretty well!




Now I like it better. Shall we keep going we must, later, account for higher-level ability score increases too, assuming no magic items whatsoever.

My character is called Ryotto Tyrannicide, wich comes from "tyrannicidal riot". He wields two magic swords: King Beheader (as in "Beheader of Kings", not "King the Beheader") and Chain Splitter. He's also a bit of a skirt-chaser. So yeah, I REALLY hope you have some Lawful Evil bad guys prepared for me. Government/trade/church conspiracies are optional, but highly recommended.
I think strength minimum and cost are two ways of keeping things better with the AC. Min maxers are going to have a hayday with trying to hit the 18 str and 18 dex but by doing this they are going to be hurting in the saving throws and skills that rely on the other abilities.
I think that these ideas are wonderful and hope that those in the know are looking at this and we can see this implimented.
As an earlier poster brought up, I like the idea of adding Str bonus to AC for heavy armors (just as Dex adds to attack/dmg for finesse weapons) with a caveat (since I worry that it would stack too quickly with the higher natural AC bonuses carried by heavy armor).

My though is that you apply your Str bonus with either a -1 or -2 penalty. This also means that proficiency aside, a character who has only an average or below strength would actually be getting reduced AC out of heavy peices, which should appleal to the folks wanting a strength requirement, but it would allow exceptionally strong characters to add an extra point or two of AC to put them on top where a tank generally aught to be.

Example: The Orc Fighter with Str 18 (+4) in platemail would subtract 2 from their Str bonus to give them an AC bonus of 2: 4-2+17=19
Example: The Human Cleric who has Str 11 (+0) in platemail would subract 2 from their Str bonus to give them an AC penalty of 2: 0-2+17=15

This way, only exceptionally strong characters are capable of making the most out of the heaviest armors. It would probably need to include an additional limiter or cap at the very high end to keep a character with supernatural strength via magic items from getting a really obscene AC... then again there isn't any such limiter that I'm aware of to keep Dex fiends from doing the same, so maybe not.

Regardless, even though rogues may have comprable AC to Fighters and Clerics as it stands, they certainly aren't going to take over as tanks, simply because of the difference in HP. If they're both equally difficult to hit, but the rogue can only reliably take two or three hits before he's out, while the Fighter can take five or six, then the fighter will still be the guy who's job it is to take those hits.

In regard to Dex being situational, there aren't too many basic mechanical conditions inwhich dex wouldn't apply to armor bonus, but a crafty DM may find ways or places to throw in limiters like that to illustrate the difference in practice... in one of our first playtests, the fellow running our game had us wading through 4 foot deep sewage, and it's kinda hard to dodge when you're waist deep in... waste. Likewise a smart enemy may utilize nets, spells, terrain, or any number of other ways to attempt to keep the players pinned down or immobilized. Should the Players find themselves fighting rank and file, shoulder to shoulder, with somebody a foot or two behind them as well, there's limited opportunity to dodge. In other words, those scearios really do exist in as great a volume as the DM wants to throw them in, though I don't recommend over use or the agile characters feel picked on.
I really like this.  The cost restrictions are a good idea.

How about the following additions to further balance roles without handiacpping AC for those roles?


Maybe a less-breakable chart could look more like this (using the armor from the playtest):


Light
Leather 11 AC / STR Min 8 - 10g
Studded Leather 12 AC / STR Min 9 - 25g
Chain Shirt 13 AC / STR Min 10 - 100g (much more expensive than ringmail)
(Mithril Chain Shirt 14 AC / STR Min 9 - 2500g)

Medium
Disadvantage on Checks to Sneak or Move Silently (Medium Armor is loud and clanky)
Disadvantage to attackers using Slashing Damage

Ringmail 13 AC / STR Min 13 - 35g
Scale 14 AC / STR Min 14 - 50g
Splint 15 AC / STR Min 15 - 500g (much more expensive than chainmail, no penalty)
(Dragon Scale 16 AC / STR Min 14 - 5000g)

Heavy
Disadvantage on Checks to Sneak or Move Silently and Acrobatic actions like jumping, swinging, tumbling, etc.
Disadvantage to attackers using Slashing and Bashing Damage
Chainmail 15 AC / STR Min 16 - 100g, -5 ft movement
Banded 16 AC / STR Min 17 - 500g , -5 ft movement
Plate 17 AC / STR Min 18 - 1500g , -5 ft movement
(Adamantine 18 AC / STR Min 17) - 15,000g , -5 ft movement

Shields
Small Shield +1 AC / STR Min 11 - 10g
Large Shield +2 AC / STR Min 15 - 50g




This would allow sneaky dodgers to still have respectable AC as avoidance, while providing tanky types with more ability to mitigate damage but with some restriction on the sorts of things that heavier armors would impede realistically, regardless of STR levels.  Even if a light armored character had a higher AC than a heavy armored character, the heavy armored character would likely take less damage due to the Disadvantage against certain types of attackers.  

But, let's not forget the power of the 'touch attack' and area attacks as these are Dex Saves that bypass AC to balance this mechanic.  The DEX based AC from lighter armor builds would have a better chance to avoid them.

In both cases, this keeps the mechanics from adding an additional step, as well as maintaining the AC as avoidance approach.

Edit:  My ideas in this post are kinda dumb.  Please ignore them, as they do nothing but provide needless complication.

The Disadvantage system should already cover the things mentioned against the armor when roleplaying, and the Disadvantage on attacks is completely not needed at all, as the light armor DEX based builds have better chances to make Dex Saves.
Here's my concept, I call it treshold-system:
the system features different layers of defense (the tresholds) that decide what happens in the battle

- DEX and defenders skills with weapons contribute to a defense called evasion. If an attack cannot overcome this, the defender just evaded the blow. Heavy armor reduces this defense.
- the defenders skill with weapons, the quality of his weapon and that of his shield contribute to the parry defense. Here the attacker hits shield or weapon. This defense is constant, no matter what armor you wear.
- armor gives you an armor treshold. If parry is overcome but not this treshold, the armor is hit.
- the next layer is the direct hit layer that represents a hit against unprotected parts
- the last layer is the critical layer that represents vital areas (head, kidneys...) which profits from armor (helmets protecting the face)

in most cases, evasion and parry do the same. What you cannot do with parry is for example parry heavy attacks (an ogres club, a dragons tail), immateriel attacks (psionic blade) and other special attacks (sword that is imbued with an electric charge - the sword damage is blocked, the charge not)
as for armor, it has two values, cover and reduction. Cover influences the treshold value, reduction is the DR an attack suffers if hitting the armor instead of a direct hit. In some exotic cases, characters can have several armor tresholds if for example you wear a leather armor with steel shoulder blades

in action, a defense looks like this:
1-10: Evade
10-16: Parry
16-20: Armor threshold 1: DR 4
20-22: Armor threshold 2: DR 2
22-26: Direct hit
26+: Critical
(just an example for how it looks, no actual states from some prepared system)

So an attack result of 12 would be parried completely, 16 would suffer a reduction of 4, 23 would be a direct hit, 28 would hit something vital, doing critical damage.

So, now you're in for a lot of explanations.
First of all, it is not that simple, yeah. Might not be the line of new D&D, I'm aware of that but oh well.
Second, computing the defense tresholds is done outside play, takes not ingame time. Hit resolving in combat should be still fast ("17!" "4 DR!" "d6+5 = 8, -4 = 4, you suffer 4 damage!")

Now for the advantages:
- Types of fighters get split up. Light armored swashbucklers, medium armored mercenaries and heavy armored ironclads are good for special situations - if you mustn't get hit at all (paralyzing touch attack, ogres club) but the attacks are slow (ghouls and ogres with low attack), the swashbuckler shines, if the enemies are good at attack but weak (tiny kobolds with spears), the ironclad wades through them
- I wove in weapon skill, which means active defense. Until now we had that a peasant (or a lvl 1 fighter cause profiencies) who found a powerful armor has a better defense than a lvl 15 fighter who woke up naked because someone stole his armor and characters being able to defend themselves despite having no weapon (but wearing heavy armor)
- criticals are not something you do by chance but by skill and you can protect yourself against them
- one might think about rules for armor breaching weapons/attacks (halberds, stabbing maneuvers with two handed swords)

All in all, I think it's better at reflecting movie fights (I don't call it realistical 'cause realistic fights would suck in a PnP) tough D&D with it's emphasize on fantastical stuff like magic might find it a focus on something that is not that important in it's world

(it's an old idea of mine, if you know german you can read an old post about it in here: tanelorn.net/index.php?topic=55371.msg11... )

The AC system is very simple, but unrealistic in that it provides an all or nothing approach to armor.  Realistically, armor is resistance and reduction, but in D&D armor functions as avoidance. 


You sure 'bout that?
There's a part of energy that gets through but a hit by a sword on a fortified plate is nothing compared to a hit against an unprotected body. (while breaching attacks like a stab with a two-handed sword or a crossbow bolt go right through)


This is easy to break. A fighter can easily, with a not-so-CharOped player, put everything on STR and DEX and end up with something like 18, 18, 10, 10, 10, 8 or whatever. If someone say it looks bland, 16 DEX then.


Guest presented his idea with an example, not a perfectly balanced system. Of course one needs to work on the system before it's ready, that does not render the idea bad.
Also, AC 27 might be normal after new balancing, if the attack also goes up that is (shouldn't be that hard to hit unarmored squishy wizards, eh?)