Taking the Shine Out of Armor

I apologize if this sounds goofy.  The premise is that Bounded Accuracy and (Dis)advantage are starting to grow on me, and I can actually see serious potential for DDN.

The one thing that still bothers me, though, is armor.  I don't like that the primary factor in determining whether or not you hit that smelly orc is what she is wearing rather than how good she is at fighting.  As such, I was thinking about removing the AC bonus from armor, and replacing it with a class-specific Defense bonus (to which you would add Dex as normal, no penalty for heavy armor).  Armor would serve another purpose, like functioning as DR or reducing susceptibility to crits.

As an outline:


  • Fighter-type classes (any class where combat is their main thing) gain +4 Defense.

  • Rogue-type and gish classes (any class where combat is still a main focus, but with sacrifices for versatility) gain +3 Defense.

  • Cleric-types (any class where physical combat is an option, but not necessarily the first option) gain +2 Defense.

  • Wizard-types (any class whose best defense is to avoid being anywhere near the enemy) gain +1 Defense.


Enemies could be lumped into one of those categories based on their supposed combat ability (fluff).


Does that sound about right to everyone?  I'm okay with rogues being harder to hit than fighters, since they don't always hit as hard.  I'm kind of worried about a Dex-based fighter getting to 20 AC or beyond, but most enemies seem to have at least some small bonus to hit, and you'd have to sacrifice a lot of Strength to put so much into Dex.


Does anyone see any likely complications?  I recall that money was supposed to be a balancing mechanism, with some armors having +1 AC at ten times the cost or whatever (relative to basic armor of that weight category), but I figure that should be easy enough to just add into the class Defense bonus at the appropriate level.


The metagame is not the game.
The only downside I can see is that "Armor Class" is one of those things that keeps getting mentioned as core D&D, and I've given up all hope that we'll ever see armor as DR or such.

Beyond that, I agree with you.  It gets very odd when, say, wizard rays don't work on creatures which have higher armor. 
Yes and No.

I do like Armor still contributing some to AC. I just think the value of contribution is too high, especially with bounded accuracy. I'd rather have AC values be more like 1-5 at level 1, and apply DR based on that value. Let it scale more at higher levels.

Similarly, I wouldn't want a flat bonus. I'd rather have a progression, similar to BAB, rather than a flat bonus at level 1 in the class. If you are making fighting skill the primary factor in whether you get hit or not, it makes absolutely no sense that a level 20 fighter is as easy to hit as a level 1 fighter. In all that time you didn't gain more skill at defending? Sorry, can't get behind that.
Sounds kind of like how Mearls did it in Iron Heroes.  I'm expecting something like this as a module.
I will remain hopefull that an armor as DR system will be a module for D&D Next. 

But, you're right, these are fundamental numbers, that make it really difficult to house rule without feeling like your'e screwing up game balance. 

Although a high dex fighter reaching AC 20 might not be awful, it feels right cinematically.  all you can do is try it and see.

As for a lvl 20 fighter being as easy to hit as a lvl 1 fighter, I keep believing that skills, themes, and abilities will solve this problem with bounded accuracy.  Getting the ability to 'deflect' attacks, or temporarily boost AC, or whatever, could be the sort of thing a fighter would pick up in those 20 levels, without messing with bounded accuracy. 
I will remain hopefull that an armor as DR system will be a module for D&D Next. 

But, you're right, these are fundamental numbers, that make it really difficult to house rule without feeling like your'e screwing up game balance. 

Although a high dex fighter reaching AC 20 might not be awful, it feels right cinematically.  all you can do is try it and see.

As for a lvl 20 fighter being as easy to hit as a lvl 1 fighter, I keep believing that skills, themes, and abilities will solve this problem with bounded accuracy.  Getting the ability to 'deflect' attacks, or temporarily boost AC, or whatever, could be the sort of thing a fighter would pick up in those 20 levels, without messing with bounded accuracy. 



This seems to be a recurring theme. Bounded accuracy being described as being fine because we can have a whole bunch of abilities that give the same effect scaling used to grant automatically before.

I guess that's one way for the developers to avoid giving Fighters nice things. Giving them the illusion of nice things by giving them stuff they used to have already back at the cost of character resources, so it looks like they're getting more effective while it's still just the same old same old. 
I think a combination approach might work. Light Armor gives +1 AC, Full Dex mod, no DR. Medium Armor gives +3 AC, half Dex mod, 1 DR. Heavy Armor gives +5 AC, no Dex mod, 3 DR, and some penalties.

Then classes can have a class bonus to AC and possibly a scaling DR bonus for armor. So fighters might be +3 AC, +1/3 Level to DR. Rogues and clerics +2 AC, +1/5 level DR, and wizards +1 AC, no DR. Masterwork armor could simply provide a DR bonus instead of an AC bonus.
Then classes can have a class bonus to AC and possibly a scaling DR bonus for armor. So fighters might be +3 AC, +1/3 Level to DR. Rogues and clerics +2 AC, +1/5 level DR, and wizards +1 AC, no DR. Masterwork armor could simply provide a DR bonus instead of an AC bonus.

I don't like the first part (armor penalties, especially the loss of Dex, are something I'm trying to get away from), but this is really something.

One of the problems with armor as DR has always been poor scaling, so what if the AC bonus came from class and then armor granted scaling DR based on weight category?

Heavy armor grants your level as DR.
Medium armor grants +2/3 level as DR.
Light armor grants +1/2 level as DR.

I mean, of course we would need to see final numbers for how damage is expected to scale, but something like this could really work.
The metagame is not the game.
Does that sound about right to everyone?



Ugh!  No way!

While I do think it would be nice if fighting ability contributed to avoiding injury in the game, I absolutely cannot support the "nerfing" of the effect of armor.  Even 4e's half-level bonus to BAB did a better job of representing skill at arms when defending than what you propose.

So pardon me for hoping that the developers look upon your idea with horror and revulsion.
Does that sound about right to everyone?

While I do think it would be nice if fighting ability contributed to avoiding injury in the game, I absolutely cannot support the "nerfing" of the effect of armor.

If anything, I was hoping armor itself would become more meaningful in some way, by removing some of the maneuverability penalties and allowing the fighter to compete with the rogue on even footing.  The math here mostly works out the same, except it doesn't encourage the fighter to treat Dex as a dump stat.

Contrast with the current armor rules, where a rogue in light armor can have higher AC than the fighter in heavy armor (due to Dex contributions) and the fighter suffers weight penalties from the heavy armor.

Still, I am under no illusion that this model would ever make it into the core default method.  Armor as AC is too ingrained into D&D history for that to change now.  (Something like this has appeared as an optional rule before, though, so I have hope.) 

I just happen to prefer the "a hit is a hit and a miss is a miss" model, which is better represented by armor not contributing to AC.  That being the case, how do you think these rules would hold up to that?
The metagame is not the game.
To me, the character's ability to avoid getting hit with a deadly attack was his HP. The 10 damage the fighter takes without dying is a measure of his combat skill diminishing.

The only other aspect were their DEX mod. But it is strange that a fighter had no trained ability to passively avoid death.

I personally would like to see fighter get a bonus to AC on top of armor, shield, and DEX.

Maybe a straight +1 or +2.
Or +1 at level 1, +2 at 11, +3 at 21, Etc..
Or the 3.5 Duelist's Canny Defense in all armors

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I don't like that the primary factor in determining whether or not you hit that smelly orc is what she is wearing rather than how good she is at fighting.


I think I've mentioned this to other people before, but you can hit an enemy and still not beat their AC, you just don't do any damage.  For example, if we look at 3e, the range between a character's touch AC and their normal AC could bee seen as the range where you hit but the armor absorbs all the damage.  Armor effectively acts as unlimited DR if you roll within that range.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Back in the old days of AD&D, this always bothered me. I designed numerous ways to make armor be more relevant to damage reduction rather than whether or not an attack hits. It drove me nuts and was what lead me to start playing other games that handled things more realistically.

These days, now that I'm older, I'm resigned to the fact Armor Class simply determines if the attack damages the target, not necessarily if it physically hits. It's a black or white thing; either your armor stops the damage or it doesn't. Quick and easy.

Not exactly realistic and it definitely stretches the limitations of the word abstraction, but it works...and has worked very well since the beginning.
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

I like the idea of a class bonus to AC. Let light armor use Dex for AC, medium armor could use Str, and heavy could use Con. Let armor actually have other perks then just an AC adjustment. Instead of DR, let heavy armor grant resistance vs physical attacks (and possibly force).

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I like the idea of a class bonus to AC. Let light armor use Dex for AC, medium armor could use Str, and heavy could use Con. Let armor actually have other perks then just an AC adjustment. Instead of DR, let heavy armor grant resistance vs physical attacks (and possibly force).



The more I think about this the better I dig it.

I prefer the class and experience set base AC and then armor type adds an ability score.  Adds a whole new meaning to donning armor.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

OK, can't help but weight in.

A level 20 fighter is harder to hit than a level 1 fighter.  This is reflected in Hit Points.  Let us just say a level 1 fighter has 20 hit points and assume 5 points per level beyond.  Thus, a level 20 fighter would have 135 hit points.  A long sword strike against a 1st level fighter deal a substantially larger proportion of his hit points compared to a level 20 fighter.  Think of it this way.  The 1st level fighter takes a serious wound to the mid-section while a level 20 fighter ends up with a scratch on his arm.  Yes, the roll needed "to hit" may be the same but the result is significantly different.

With regards to Armor Class, I suppose it depends on what the developers are going for.  It seems as though they are trying to make armor class similar across classes.  In some ways this makes sense as it can make planning enemies and encounter easier.  As a DM, it can be difficult to plan enemies, particularly their bonuses to hit, for a group of PCs that have widely differnt AC values.  You need to be able to hit your fighters to be a threat to them, but if so, you may always hit rogues and mages.  In some ways I see the problem as being different AC values and different hit point values by class.  So, if the developers want to keep similar AC values, then different hit die by class makes sense.  In some ways, I think it would be easier to give everyone the same hit dice and make AC values vary by class.  This would also make it easier to normalize healing across all classes.  Damage reduction could actually exacerbate the problem of hit point disparity as well.  In order to do significant damage to a fighter, any hits on a magic user would be devastating.  Granted, once magic users gain a few levels, their defensive spells can make them very difficult targets to strike.

Another suggestion for heavy armor, instead of using DEX as the bonus for AC, why not use STR bonus?  I've always had a hard time believing your dexterity has much affect when wearing 40-80 lbs of metal armor.  I could be wrong and if someone out there understands what it is like to wear plate armor, I would love for them to weigh in on this issue.  Along similar lines, I'd even be OK with wizards using their INT for an AC bonus.  It would simulate battlefield awareness.  Basically, let a class receive all of its benefits from its primary attribute.  For a fighter, STR works for to hit, damage, AC and Initiative.  Similarly, rogues would use DEX, wizards INT and clerics WIS.  To me it would make class balance issues easier to determine.  Although, using a system like this, one could easily get rid of initiative modifiers as almost everyone would have the same bonus, which is how my group has always done it anyway.

Those are just some of my thoughts and ideas.   

P.S.  my posts always end up longer than I intend.  I need to learn to be more concise. 
A level 20 fighter is harder to hit than a level 1 fighter.  This is reflected in Hit Points.

It's just as easy to hit a level 20 fighter, but it's much harder to land a solid hit.  Against a dozen level 1 opponents, she would suffer a death of a thousand cuts, which does not suitably convey the heroic image of a warrior who walks through the chaos of battle without getting hit.  It's down to personal preference.
I've always had a hard time believing your dexterity has much affect when wearing 40-80 lbs of metal armor.  I could be wrong and if someone out there understands what it is like to wear plate armor, I would love for them to weigh in on this issue.

Part of this is a reaction against the image of the walking tank who can barely turn around.  I've seen the video of the guy in plate armor doing cartwheels, and I'm really pushing to dispel the stereotype.  This isn't the place to get into the arguments for both sides, but suffice it to say I want to encourage fighters to care about Dex in general.
Basically, let a class receive all of its benefits from its primary attribute.  For a fighter, STR works for to hit, damage, AC and Initiative.  Similarly, rogues would use DEX, wizards INT and clerics WIS.  To me it would make class balance issues easier to determine.

I think this was part of the reason for the "same-ness" feeling of 4E.  I'm in favor of making every class care about every attribute (to varying degrees) - stats need to vary if they are going to mean anything - so I wouldn't include anything like this in my own house rules.

The metagame is not the game.
OK, can't help but weight in.

A level 20 fighter is harder to hit than a level 1 fighter.  This is reflected in Hit Points.  Let us just say a level 1 fighter has 20 hit points and assume 5 points per level beyond.  Thus, a level 20 fighter would have 135 hit points.  A long sword strike against a 1st level fighter deal a substantially larger proportion of his hit points compared to a level 20 fighter.  Think of it this way.  The 1st level fighter takes a serious wound to the mid-section while a level 20 fighter ends up with a scratch on his arm.  Yes, the roll needed "to hit" may be the same but the result is significantly different.

With regards to Armor Class, I suppose it depends on what the developers are going for.  It seems as though they are trying to make armor class similar across classes.  In some ways this makes sense as it can make planning enemies and encounter easier.  As a DM, it can be difficult to plan enemies, particularly their bonuses to hit, for a group of PCs that have widely differnt AC values.  You need to be able to hit your fighters to be a threat to them, but if so, you may always hit rogues and mages.  In some ways I see the problem as being different AC values and different hit point values by class.  So, if the developers want to keep similar AC values, then different hit die by class makes sense.  In some ways, I think it would be easier to give everyone the same hit dice and make AC values vary by class.  This would also make it easier to normalize healing across all classes.  Damage reduction could actually exacerbate the problem of hit point disparity as well.  In order to do significant damage to a fighter, any hits on a magic user would be devastating.  Granted, once magic users gain a few levels, their defensive spells can make them very difficult targets to strike.

Another suggestion for heavy armor, instead of using DEX as the bonus for AC, why not use STR bonus?  I've always had a hard time believing your dexterity has much affect when wearing 40-80 lbs of metal armor.  I could be wrong and if someone out there understands what it is like to wear plate armor, I would love for them to weigh in on this issue.  Along similar lines, I'd even be OK with wizards using their INT for an AC bonus.  It would simulate battlefield awareness.  Basically, let a class receive all of its benefits from its primary attribute.  For a fighter, STR works for to hit, damage, AC and Initiative.  Similarly, rogues would use DEX, wizards INT and clerics WIS.  To me it would make class balance issues easier to determine.  Although, using a system like this, one could easily get rid of initiative modifiers as almost everyone would have the same bonus, which is how my group has always done it anyway.

Those are just some of my thoughts and ideas.   

P.S.  my posts always end up longer than I intend.  I need to learn to be more concise. 



Actually, this brought an idea to mind: Racial hit-dice.  Maybe have 1d10 HP/Level for a human, half-elf or half-orc, 1d12 for a dwarf, 1d8 for elves and halflings?
Modify AC per class, as you said, and let it play out from there?
Hit Points are abstract enough that loss of HP does not necessarily mean physical (or mental) damage of any sort.  You can go from 300 HP to 1, and choose to narrate the results as dodges, blocks and parries; the character walks away from the fight without a scratch on him or a hair out of place.

This is also why martial healing works; since loss of HP does not inherently mean physical damage was taken, recovery of HP does not inherently mean that physical damage goes away.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I will remain hopefull that an armor as DR system will be a module for D&D Next.


Armor is already damage reduction, 5% reduction for every +1 it provides, on average anyways.
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Part of this is a reaction against the image of the walking tank who can barely turn around.  I've seen the video of the guy in plate armor doing cartwheels, and I'm really pushing to dispel the stereotype. 


I am the guy in plate armour in the video doing cartwheels, and I think the traditional D&D Armor class does a perfectly adequate job of mechanically representing the defenisve properties of armour.  The only changes I would make to the exisiting system would be to boost the AC rating of heavy armours and lower the penalties just a bit.

Traditional damage reduction (subtracting a static number from all damage) is problematic. On the one hand, it is relatively simple to understand and use and fits a common conception for how armor protects you. On the other hand, it slows down combat because you have to take an extra step on each hit (that extra step may be small, but multiply it by the total number of hits in a typical combat and it adds up). Secondly, the higher the DR value the more invulnerable a character is; they can basically ignore a whole range of low damage effects and attacks.

My take on core armor rules still has your base AC set by what you are wearing, but in the narrow range required by bounded accuracy. Each armor type gives you two choices of ability mods to add to AC. Some classes also get a small bonus to AC to reflect their affinity for armor. For shields, you can use a reaction to reduce damage. This has the same benefits of DR as described above, but significantly cuts down the drawbacks. If you are interested in the details, check my signature.

another things you could do is make your figting style matter for your AC.

at the moment Dex is added to AC being the i doge way of defending from attacks.

but if i instead use a figting style that uses parry/block shoulden't i add STR instead to push the oponents weapon away ?

Why is it so critical that ability scores affect ARMOR class? Yes, it's been there in every edition. The more I think on using class bonuses, the more I like it. Abilities already affect a great deal outside of accuracy and defense. With bounded accuracy, trying to balance armor class is both easier and more challenging, depending on the number of elements that affect it. IMO, training (ie level) has more impact on attack and defense than raw ability. Being strong and/or nimble is awesome, but even better when you know what to do with it. I'd rather not see any abilities affect defense, and have armor mean more than a number.

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I am both orderly and instinctive. I value community and group identity, defining myself by the social group I am a part of. At best, I'm selfless and strong-willed; at worst, I'm unoriginal and sheepish.
I am the guy in plate armour in the video doing cartwheels, and I think the traditional D&D Armor class does a perfectly adequate job of mechanically representing the defenisve properties of armour.  The only changes I would make to the exisiting system would be to boost the AC rating of heavy armours and lower the penalties just a bit.

It's a small world after all!  That certainly puts me in my place.  Still, you can't stop an idea once it's out there.  I will keep some of the penalties of heavy armor, though, by your suggestion (move speed penalty, difficulty with climbing, etc).

Out of curiosity, why do you think it would be harder to land a hit on Stephen Hawking in plate armor than on, say, Bruce Lee wearing a leather jacket?  As far as I can tell, the playtest rules let plate-wearers ignore a Dex penalty to armor even if it's -4. 

Is it all down to the armor just stopping a hit dead in its tracks (or deflecting it so that it transfers none of the impact)?  Sixty percent of all perfectly accurate attacks are just going to slide off and the remainder will hurt exactly the same amount as if you'd been wearing no armor at all?



The metagame is not the game.
Hit Points are abstract enough that loss of HP does not necessarily mean physical (or mental) damage of any sort.  You can go from 300 HP to 1, and choose to narrate the results as dodges, blocks and parries; the character walks away from the fight without a scratch on him or a hair out of place.

This is also why martial healing works; since loss of HP does not inherently mean physical damage was taken, recovery of HP does not inherently mean that physical damage goes away.



Exactly. In my campaigns, a character isn't actually wounded until they have 0 hp or less.

Hit Points are the buffer between them and physical harm; once it's gone, they no longer have the reserves left to avoid taking damage any more. 

Losing Hit Points is never anything more serious than getting a few scratches, dings and nicks in my campaigns. I don't use any "bloodied" states when you reach certain hit point levels. If you have hit points left, you are basically unharmed. Once you reach 0 hp, you are wounded and are severly impaired and or dying. 
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

Losing Hit Points is never anything more serious than getting a few scratches, dings and nicks in my campaigns. I don't use any "bloodied" states when you reach certain hit point levels. If you have hit points left, you are basically unharmed. Once you reach 0 hp, you are wounded and are severly impaired and or dying. 

Invoking the divine power of the gods to restore those HP must seem really anti-climactic.

The metagame is not the game.