Why doesn't armor soak damage?

In real life(tm) taking a hit while wearing armor still hurts but does far less damage than it would have otherwise. Consider a shot to the chest being stopped by a flack jacket leaving a bruise but not a hole in the chest. The notion of armor class is kind of antiquated in that sense. Why not replace armor class with some kind of damage reduction from armor and high toughness. Hit rolls could be made against someone's reflex defense.
I agree. What about Mage Armor? A shield and Dex should be AC. Full Plate means no Dex to AC, just all DR/-

Unfortunately this is a sacred cow that won't die in next I think.
This is ground that has been covered a million times. Ultimately it's just easier to have all of your defenses bundled into a single value.
Unfortunately this is a sacred cow that won't die in next I think.

This is the correct answer.  Gyagax & Arneson didn't do it in 1974, 5E isn't going to do it in 2013.

In real life(tm) taking a hit while wearing armor still hurts but does far less damage than it would have otherwise. Consider a shot to the chest being stopped by a flack jacket leaving a bruise but not a hole in the chest. The notion of armor class is kind of antiquated in that sense. Why not replace armor class with some kind of damage reduction from armor and high toughness. Hit rolls could be made against someone's reflex defense.



'Dodging' in heavy armor is much more ridiculous than the current value of armor.  A shot to the chest still hurts, yes...but that's not a 'hit', either.  That's a miss (or if you prefer the full abstraction of hp thing, it's a hit that doesn't do vital damage).  If you wanted to use the 'armor as DR', you'd have to -really- pump up the damage of attacks (otherwise you'd simply nickel and dime someone to death), introduce weapon-armor-damage-types (clunky, but the only way to get effects like lance-through-plate), or simply make the DR low and, effectively, write off martials entirely.  There is no effective balance between the three choices without fundamentally altering combat and, while you're at it, throwing a ton of unneeded complexity in it.

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

Once we figure out what a hit point is, then something like this might work.

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

Once we figure out what a hit point is, then something like this might work.

HP is a get-dead-o-meter.

If you accept that a hit is a hit and HP represent health, then it would make perfect sense for heavy armor to act as DR.

If you don't accept that premise, then it makes everything much more complicated, to the point where the only sane alternative is to just toss any logic out the window and handwave it as game mechanics.

The metagame is not the game.

Once we figure out what a hit point is, then something like this might work.

HP is a get-dead-o-meter.




HP actaully more a Not-deadometer
"20 HP left, Not dead. Must have bounced of my armor or something"

AC is a measure of how difficult it is to "hit" the target's weakspot. 

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!

Once we figure out what a hit point is, then something like this might work.

HP is a get-dead-o-meter.




Then armor should just give your character more hit points.  But how crazy is that?

Maybe armor should reduce hit points lost by damage dice.  Not a set number, just reduce number of dice rolled.  So a heavy weapon rolls 4 dice of hit point loss but heavy armor removes 3 dice, or whatever

EDIT:  It would have to be base dice for a weapon.  Otherwise a dagger would not hurt a platemail warrior.

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


Then armor should just give your character more hit points.  But how crazy is that?




As AC, it does.


Effective hit points, anyway.  It reduces the DPR of enemies attacking you, negating a percentage of damage that you would otherwise take.


(I do personally prefer armor as DR, but as was said, it would require a fundamental rebuild of the combat system.  It doesn't need to be overly complicated; the new Hackmaster does it quite well.  But it does have to be very different.)
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.

Then armor should just give your character more hit points.  But how crazy is that?




As AC, it does.


Effective hit points, anyway.  It reduces the DPR of enemies attacking you, negating a percentage of damage that you would otherwise take.


(I do personally prefer armor as DR, but as was said, it would require a fundamental rebuild of the combat system.  It doesn't need to be overly complicated; the new Hackmaster does it quite well.  But it does have to be very different.)



Armor class could just as easily be an encounter resource. No?

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

No reason to fix something that isn't broken.

AC has been an effective way to determine if a character takes damage for nearly 40 years. It's not going anywhere. 
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.

In real life(tm) taking a hit while wearing armor still hurts but does far less damage than it would have otherwise. Consider a shot to the chest being stopped by a flack jacket leaving a bruise but not a hole in the chest. The notion of armor class is kind of antiquated in that sense. Why not replace armor class with some kind of damage reduction from armor and high toughness. Hit rolls could be made against someone's reflex defense.



I think that AC should be 10 + dex bonus + class bonus.  Some classes would get a higher bonus than others, like say a monk.  Imagine a 10th level fighter getting half level to AC.  With a 16 dex it would be 10 + 3 + 5 for an 18 AC.  At 20th level it would be a 23 AC.  Armor itself would give damage reduction.  The heavier the armor, the greater the damage reduction.  Heavier armors would also impose an AC penalty to compensate for the increased damage reduction.
This is ground that has been covered a million times. Ultimately it's just easier to have all of your defenses bundled into a single value.



This is true.  It is easier to have them all bundled.  However, it is also true that it is not hard to do it the way we are suggesting here.  Once you hit about 8 or 9 years old, you should be perfectly capable of handling it.
Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...
I wouldn't call AC antiquated, no more than HP is an antiquated concept. Sure, Next could ditch both HP and AC and go with wound levels and dodging/parrying mechanics. But I'm sure you can imagine how many people would complain that it doesn't feel like D&D anymore.
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Honestly, I've never cared for dex to AC. Dex is already used for reflex, so double-dipping defenses is poor design. I'd rather AC be strictly armor worn + class bonus + specialty bonus (if applicable).

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Honestly, I've never cared for dex to AC. Dex is already used for reflex, so double-dipping defenses is poor design. I'd rather AC be strictly armor worn + class bonus + specialty bonus (if applicable).



the problem is that you would either have every class not in heavy armor with no AC whatsoever, like if you roll a 5 you will hit them every time. or you have to give every class a bonus to compinsate, which is a very inelegant solution.

it would be better to just get rid of reflex altogether if you dont want to double dip dex.
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
Armor does soak damage.  If the attack roll doesn't meet our exceed your AC, it soaks all of the damage.

Really, though, the basic answer is that D&D combat is 99 percent abstract.  AC and HP together represent the full spectrum of 'defensive abilities', from determination and drive to avoidance to physical protection to parrying and everything in between.  A 'hit' doesn't necessarily mean contact was made, and losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage.

It's an abstraction for speed of play.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.
"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."
Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



While I agree, it's the (literalist) interpretation of the rules that they're quoting.  I think many people make bad assumptions about how the wording was meant to work, and I think they actually did change the wording in 4e (but I'm not positive), but that's just how it goes.

I still haven't heard anyone explain for instance why a Vorpal Sword can decapitate me when it makes me feel bad about myself, or why I'm rolling to save vs poison when my fatigue is up.

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

Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



if hp were real damage, and D&D tried to simulate it then it would make it much more complicated not less.

the best example is that if 20 hp PC's exist, and can be one shot by people doing 30 damage then 30 damage is as damageing as a beheading. therefore a 60hp or more character can survive a beheading several times.

hp are abstract for a good reason
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
This thread is showing one of my old beliefs very well.


HP simply do not work if you think about them too much.


They don't work as a pure abstraction because of things like poison and vorpal swords.  They don't work as a pure physical endurance measurement because people simply don't survive getting stabbed a dozen times (or more).
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
This thread is showing one of my old beliefs very well.


HP simply do not work if you think about them too much.


They don't work as a pure abstraction because of things like poison and vorpal swords.  They don't work as a pure physical endurance measurement because people simply don't survive getting stabbed a dozen times (or more).


People can and do survive that and more -- just incredibly rarely.  But you'll find plenty of examples of that even on things like Cracked.com.

But more to the point, I think the problem is in looking for 'pure'.  I don't think either 'pure' argument works.  It is in alloy where hit points work best.

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

Armor does soak damage.  If the attack roll doesn't meet our exceed your AC, it soaks all of the damage.

Really, though, the basic answer is that D&D combat is 99 percent abstract.  AC and HP together represent the full spectrum of 'defensive abilities', from determination and drive to avoidance to physical protection to parrying and everything in between.  A 'hit' doesn't necessarily mean contact was made, and losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage.

It's an abstraction for speed of play.

I like this explanation the best.

Armor takes damage* if an attack doesn't break AC.  In an abstract sense though, not a literal one.  To over-think it ;) would mean that the armor is actually being damaged.  Then, you gotta address that issue.  How much damage can the armor take before it falls apart and is basically useless?  Can the armor be repaired?  How much will that cost?

There was a variant in the Complete Fighter's Handbook (a 2nd Edition supplement) that addressed these issues.  Back then, we tried it for a while but, way too much bookwork for not much gain.  Armor is simply another abstract layer of protection, like hit points.  Define it whatever way works best for the group.  Over-thinking it just defeats the purpose ;).

*Edit:  All or some, depending on how you look at it.
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People can and do survive that and more -- just incredibly rarely.  But you'll find plenty of examples of that even on things like Cracked.com.

But more to the point, I think the problem is in looking for 'pure'.  I don't think either 'pure' argument works.  It is in alloy where hit points work best.



But then it's impossible to define the actual percentage of each, making it impossible to think about it in that much detail.

All that matters is that HP is a not-dead measure.  Describe it however you want, all you need to know is that when you run out you die.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



if hp were real damage, and D&D tried to simulate it then it would make it much more complicated not less.

the best example is that if 20 hp PC's exist, and can be one shot by people doing 30 damage then 30 damage is as damageing as a beheading. therefore a 60hp or more character can survive a beheading several times.

hp are abstract for a good reason



Sorry, but that doesn't even make any sense. Just because a PC has 20 hps and takes 30 damage, it doesn't mean he was beheaded. And who says a beheading does 30 damage? If I were DMing and someone was getting executed by a guillotine, I don't care how many HPs they have. They die. Period. That's not something you roll damage on.


I think PCs have FAR too many hit points than they should ever have in D&D, but that's another topic. But for argument's sake, let's say you have 2 PCs. Frank has 20 hps and Grog with 60 hps. Now, they each take a sword hit for 10 points of damage. Obviously, it's a much more serious wound to Frank, than it would be to Grog, but either way, they are both still wounded. There's no need for any abstraction there. It's basic math.


"A 'hit' doesn't necessarily mean contact was made, and losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage. "  Oh really? Then why subtract hit points from someone of they weren't actually hit? Did the wind of the blade whooshing past them do the damage? This must be related to that ridiculous Slayer theme...
"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />"A 'hit' doesn't necessarily mean contact was made, and losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage. "  Oh really? Then why subtract hit points from someone of they weren't actually hit? Did the wind of the blade whooshing past them do the damage? This must be related to that ridiculous Slayer theme...



Nope.  It can mean you dodged at the last second, or parried.  It was simply tiring to do so, therefore your overall defensive capability is diminished; you're getting worn down protecting yourself.

The only hit that needs to make physical contact is the one that drops you below zero, and there are times even THAT is debatable.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
In real life(tm) taking a hit while wearing armor still hurts but does far less damage than it would have otherwise. Consider a shot to the chest being stopped by a flack jacket leaving a bruise but not a hole in the chest.



Question are you adventuring with Modern Tech or Medival??
I will answer for both to give an eample of how the game mechanics work.

First of all lets understand wht we are talking about. Body Armor typically is a worn article that protects the chest stomach back and frequently the pevic region of the body.

In Modern Tech this would be the riot vest, flak jacket, Ballistic raincoat, SWAT tactical vest, or light combat vest class I II or IIA; are by and large canvas or kevlar with metal/ kevlar-clay plates in areas of strategic importance to protect.  If struck the material of the vest absorbs the "attack" reducing the impact greatly. This also leaves the structural integrity of the garment 'weakened' in that area of effect. Which is why many of these have replaceable plates, for continued use.  Therefore consider the "vest" has five plates, in pockets on a kevlar frame work. the kevlar will slow the bullet marginally and the bullet will lodge into the plate. Now the plate forms fisures or cracks and that particular plate is weaker than the other four.  So a precise shot fired at the same location will only take so many hits, found by the structural strength of the material until it gives and the armor is breeched. Any further shots to that plate will penetrate.  "No vest ever made, by any manufacturer is 100% "bullet proof".   Laboratory tests have proven the following statement. "At close range there is a 1% chance that a low caliber bullet will penetrate the average body armor, and 3% for medium or 5% for high caliber rounds.  At Point blank range low claiber rounds have a 3% chance of penetrating body armor, and 7% for medium or 15% for high caliber rounds. High caliber machine gun rounds and the most powerful rifles will punch through all known forms of modern body armor like a hot knife through butter. "  Lastly, grenades and other explosives will injure a person wearing any body armor, equal to half the max damage for that ordinance from concussion and injury to the extremities.

In Medival or Rennessance Armor the person is wearing Padding, usually cotton; a Leather jerkin or jack; pounded and shapped metal, bronze iron or in late period rough steel. If you take a axe to an armored man
and continue to hack at him in the same spot. A similar effect is made for the impact and edge will warp the metal and make it weaker, continued cutting in that area will eventually create a crack and allow the blade of the axe to cut into the leather and padding. After that is breeched the flesh and meat is next.

Reality is cruel but the +1 or +3 you get to your AC is the reduced damage that would otherwise cleave a person Not in armor.  
Armor does soak damage.  If the attack roll doesn't meet our exceed your AC, it soaks all of the damage.



Exactamundo.

And, furthermore, if the AC doesn't stop the damage from getting through, just assume any low damage rolls from the attack are the result of the armor acting as a buffer...and any high damage rolls finding (or nearly finding) a weak spot in the target's defenses.

Throw in some flavorful narration, then...Bam! Awesome roleplaying fun that doesn't get bogged down with boring minutiae. 
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.



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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.

Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



if hp were real damage, and D&D tried to simulate it then it would make it much more complicated not less.

the best example is that if 20 hp PC's exist, and can be one shot by people doing 30 damage then 30 damage is as damageing as a beheading. therefore a 60hp or more character can survive a beheading several times.

hp are abstract for a good reason



Sorry, but that doesn't even make any sense. Just because a PC has 20 hps and takes 30 damage, it doesn't mean he was beheaded. And who says a beheading does 30 damage? If I were DMing and someone was getting executed by a guillotine, I don't care how many HPs they have. They die. Period. That's not something you roll damage on.


I think PCs have FAR too many hit points than they should ever have in D&D, but that's another topic. But for argument's sake, let's say you have 2 PCs. Frank has 20 hps and Grog with 60 hps. Now, they each take a sword hit for 10 points of damage. Obviously, it's a much more serious wound to Frank, than it would be to Grog, but either way, they are both still wounded. There's no need for any abstraction there. It's basic math.


"A 'hit' doesn't necessarily mean contact was made, and losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage. "  Oh really? Then why subtract hit points from someone of they weren't actually hit? Did the wind of the blade whooshing past them do the damage? This must be related to that ridiculous Slayer theme...



I agree, my point is that its silly to think of hp in any way other then abstratly, same with a hit and miss otherwise you get into situations where people survive attacks easily that should kill them.

my point was that if hp were not abstract that 1hp is universal it means the same thing everyone. 1hp damage to bob is the same as 1hp damage to joe.

so a 30hp hit is a death blow, enough to kill, something like a beheading that just cant be lived through. but once you get more then 30 hp you can somehow live through it.

hp just does not work that way, it is abstract just like hiting and missing are, a attack that does damage on a miss could easily be a glacing blow, something that did make contact but not enough to do much damage.
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
Armor does soak damage.  If the attack roll doesn't meet our exceed your AC, it soaks all of the damage.

Really, though, the basic answer is that D&D combat is 99 percent abstract.  AC and HP together represent the full spectrum of 'defensive abilities', from determination and drive to avoidance to physical protection to parrying and everything in between.  A 'hit' doesn't necessarily mean contact was made, and losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage.

It's an abstraction for speed of play.



Armor and hit points represent a spectrum, but not the full spectrum.  If it did, it would include damage reduction/armor soak as a specific mechanic, but it doesn't.   Adding damage reduction to armor won't slow the game down by a noticable amount.
Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



I suppose you think that someone hit 20 times by arrows actually is running around with 20 arrows sticking out of them, too.
Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



While I agree, it's the (literalist) interpretation of the rules that they're quoting.  I think many people make bad assumptions about how the wording was meant to work, and I think they actually did change the wording in 4e (but I'm not positive), but that's just how it goes.

I still haven't heard anyone explain for instance why a Vorpal Sword can decapitate me when it makes me feel bad about myself, or why I'm rolling to save vs poison when my fatigue is up.




Because a portion of hit points is physical.  If the vorpal sword cuts your head off and you had 150 hit points left, you just took 150+ hit points of damage.  If you have to save vs. poison, it's because some of that poison got into your system.  It may have only been a scratch, but it was enough. 

When you get hit, the effect is exactly what is needed to represent that attack and make sense with the character's hit point total.  No more, and no less.  Physical, fatigue, luck, misses, fear, whatever, it's all part of the arsenal of hit points and any attack can incorporate any of them if needed. 
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />"A 'hit' doesn't necessarily mean contact was made, and losing HP doesn't necessarily mean physical damage. "  Oh really? Then why subtract hit points from someone of they weren't actually hit? Did the wind of the blade whooshing past them do the damage? This must be related to that ridiculous Slayer theme...



Nope.  It can mean you dodged at the last second, or parried.  It was simply tiring to do so, therefore your overall defensive capability is diminished; you're getting worn down protecting yourself.

The only hit that needs to make physical contact is the one that drops you below zero, and there are times even THAT is debatable.



I don't think any of this is debatable. If you dodged (dex bonus) or parried, that is built into AC, not hit points. If combat were as tiring as you're making it out to be, than the attacker should also take damage since he is exerting himself just as much. That's fatigue, not hit points. There are even rules covering parrying and fatigue. Parrying modifies AC. Fatigue was a separate thing and only affected your movement and fighting ability. Neither of those things affect hit points. This is from the Player's Option books (or 2.5e).


I think people misinterpret 'abstract', when talking about combat and hit points, when what is really happening is more akin to 'random'. They are not the same thing.
"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."
Then armor should just give your character more hit points.

It's too obvious to ever be implemented.

Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



I suppose you think that someone hit 20 times by arrows actually is running around with 20 arrows sticking out of them, too.



Why would I think that? Arrows don't have to stick into you to do damage. They can just as easily 'nick' you and deal a lot of damage slicing your face or arm, thus dealing a bloody 'flesh wound'. Heck, in the description for magic arrows, it says they are destroyed on a hit, so those don't stick into someone either.
"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."
In real life(tm) taking a hit while wearing armor still hurts but does far less damage than it would have otherwise. Consider a shot to the chest being stopped by a flack jacket leaving a bruise but not a hole in the chest. The notion of armor class is kind of antiquated in that sense. Why not replace armor class with some kind of damage reduction from armor and high toughness. Hit rolls could be made against someone's reflex defense.



Unearthed Arcana for 3.5 had an armor as damage reduction system, as did the BECMI D&D supplement Dawn of the Emperors.  I used the latter system in my home campaign, with disastrous results.  Other non-D&D games have implemented such systems better, because they were not balanced around the current D&D combat system.

A key point is to make small changes to combat statistics relevant.  Bounded accuracy is a good idea, but even in this Playtest armor class was not sufficiently bounded -- it is quite easy, once the heavily armored characters acquire plate armor, for them to go full defensive and be unhittable by anything short of a natural 20.  Maybe part of that AC bonus could be converted to minor damage reduction?  But you would have to redesign other aspects of combat to ensure that (for example) a character wielding a dagger against a combatant in plate mail is not completely wasting his time.  
 
Because HP is an abstract number, is not real physical damage, being "hit" on D&D doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed...Also once your armor is breached, i don't think it will matter...



I'm so sick of seeing this silly argument about hit points. "Not real physical damage? Doesn't mean being really hit or stabbed?" Um, that's exactly what it means. You hit someone's AC (or better), then you ACTUALLY HIT THEM. Then you roll DAMAGE to see how badly YOU HURT THEM. It's very simple. All of this 'abstract' nonsense just makes what should be (and is) a simple game mechanic more complicated than it needs to be.



I suppose you think that someone hit 20 times by arrows actually is running around with 20 arrows sticking out of them, too.



Why would I think that? Arrows don't have to stick into you to do damage. They can just as easily 'nick' you and deal a lot of damage slicing your face or arm, thus dealing a bloody 'flesh wound'. Heck, in the description for magic arrows, it says they are destroyed on a hit, so those don't stick into someone either.



THIS is abstract hit points.  Most of the damage was not physical in your example.  If you want each hit to be a nick and mostly not physical damage until the end, great, but you are running hit points in an abstract manner like they are intended to be.
I actually like the idea of armor adding hit points.

We shouldn't be stuck with dumb rules because of what Gygax did or didn't do. We should be willing to explore new things and make radical changes. Otherwise, why bother with a new edition?
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