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.