Towards a Better Armor System

Seems that the developers constantly change the armor system with each iteration.  At some point however it seems with the current system that all players would eventually be dressed the same.  The only way to change this would be to even out the AC and provide for benefits other than AC.

(disadvantage) means disadvantage on sneak, swim, and tumble checks
(resistance) = 1/2 damage from this type of attack

AC    Light Armor (+ Dex mod)
12    Padded (disadvantage) (resistance to bludgeoning)
12    Leather
12    Hide (disadvantage) (resistance to slashing)
13    Mithral shirt (resistance to piercing)
13    Dragon leather (resistance to one of the following: fire, cold, lightning, poison, or acid)

AC    Medium Armor (+ Dex mod)
14    Studded leather
14    Ring (disadvantage) (resistance to piercing)
15    Studded dragon leather (resistance to one of the following: fire, cold, lightning, poison, or acid)
15    Scale (disadvantage)
15    Dragon scale (disadvantage)(resistance to one of the following: fire, cold, lightning, poison, or acid)
15    Mithral Chain (resistance to piercing)

AC    Heavy Armor (+ 1/2 dex mod)
16    Chain (disadvantage) (-5 feet movement) (resistance to piercing)
16    Splint (disadvantage) (-5 feet movement) (resistance to slashing)
16    Banded (disadvantage) (-5 feet movement) (resistance to bludgeoning)
17    Plate (disadvantage) (-5 feet movement)
17    Mithral plate (disadvantage)(resistance to slashing and piercing)

Anyone else have any ideas to make the system better?
I'd start with removing Dex from AC completely and close the gap between the armor categories. Let non-AC properties set apart the different specific armors.

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Resistance is a bit powerful, and the idea that hide would be resistant to slashing and plate isn't seems odd.

i like the properties 4th added late, such as ignore 1 crit per encounter or gain damage resistance of x once per encounter.


i do agree that armor and also weapons need a bit of tweaking.

 
I'd start with removing Dex from AC completely and close the gap between the armor categories. Let non-AC properties set apart the different specific armors.



A better system would probably have dexterity allow avoidance of an attack while armor reduces the effects of the attack.  Avoiding the attack should be more difficult with heavier armor.

Resistance is a bit powerful, and the idea that hide would be resistant to slashing and plate isn't seems odd.

i like the properties 4th added late, such as ignore 1 crit per encounter or gain damage resistance of x once per encounter.


i do agree that armor and also weapons need a bit of tweaking.

 



Maybe add resistance to slashing to plate armor but that would make splint less appealing since everyone would eventually upgrade to plate.  Damage resistance could be limited per encounter but the separation of abilities between encounters seems a bit forced to me.

I would predict a lot of people hiding their armor under robes, so you can't tall what they're wearing.

Some of the resistances feel tacked on, as though they are only there for game-play diversity rather than being representative of the armor type.  I mean, I'll buy that a mithral shirt is more effective against piercing attacks, but is it really so much more effective that a 16-point slashing attack would hurt more than a 30-point piercing hit?  It's kind of just adding in a random rock-paper-scissors mechanic to all physical attacks, and there's already plenty of randomness in the game.

(Alternatively, if everyone shows their armor at all times, then you'll have the fighter put away her +2 rapier of doom against that target, because she'll do more damage by punching.)

The metagame is not the game.

Resistance is too powerful and also really opens the flood gates for a new mini-game of damage types versus the PCs - increasing complexity.  It could work as an optional rule (I think AD&D had something similar where the AC changed instead).

The armors currently listed have variations in technology, cost, weight, protection, and mobility.   Some armors should be strictly better than others due to the first two variations.  For the others, we need creative ways to incorporate the differences of the last three.

Mobility has been tackled through adjustments to speed and maximum dexterity bonuses.  The latter worked a bit better when touch ACs were a thing.  I appreciate the simplicity of the current system - but the distinction between touch AC and regular/flat-footed did a decent job of distinguishing the hulking battletank and the fluidic battledancer.

For innovative ways of approaching mobility, maybe we should look at maneuvers.  Some should be easier to perform or more effective in armor that allows for more mobility.  Putting that statement into rules and numbers is tricky, though.

Chainmail is a staple of D&D, but the fact that it's supposed to be very draining to wear (all the weight on the shoulders) hasn't been explored well.  Maybe it should impose a penalty to strength, but allows for maximum mobility compared to the other heavy armors?

I don't know.  Armor is a tough nut to crack. 
I think the OP's armor system is too complex for core.

To me, simpler is better.

AC
Speed Penalty
Stealth Disadvantage

Light Armor
Padded 11+ Dex Mod AC, Stealth Disadvantage
Leather 11+ Dex Mod AC,
Chain Shirt 13+ Dex Mod AC,

Medium Armor
Hide 12+Dex Mod AC (Max 2),
Studded Leather 13+ Dex Mod AC (Max 2),
Scale 14+ Dex Mod AC (Max 2), Stealth Disadvantage

Heavy Armor
Ringmail 14 AC, -5 feet Speed, Stealth Disadvantage
Chainmail 16 AC, -5 feet Speed, Stealth Disadvantage
Splint 17 AC, -5 feet Speed, Stealth Disadvantage
Banded 17AC,
Plate 18 AC, -5 feet Speed, Stealth Disadvantage

Special Materials Module


Adamantine (Chain Shirt, Scale or Heavy armor Only)
+1 AC, +500 gp, Double Weight

Mithral (Chain Shirt, Scale or Heavy armor Only)
+1 AC, +1000 gp, Remove Disadvantage, Half Weight

Ironwood (Scale or Heavy armor Only)
+500 gp, Remove Disadvantage, Half Weight

Dragon (Leather or Medium armor Only)
+1 AC, +750 gp, Resistance of dragon's type

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I'd start with removing Dex from AC completely and close the gap between the armor categories. Let non-AC properties set apart the different specific armors.

A better system would probably have dexterity allow avoidance of an attack while armor reduces the effects of the attack.  Avoiding the attack should be more difficult with heavier armor.

That's what a "dex save" is for. Dex shouldn't be for both AC and "reflex", as no other ability double dips, and it isn't even needed for game balance. Give the classes a class bonus to AC (~1-4), and now you can have a very small difference in AC from armor (like light ~= +2 AC, medium ~= +3, heavy ~= +4). Then, give some benefit to medium and heavy armor to compensate for any movement penalties, but I would keep them pretty simple as well. For instance:

light armor: +2 AC
medium armor: +3 AC; use better of Dex or AC bonus for "reflex" saves; disadvantage on movement-related Str skill checks
heavy armor: +4 AC; use better of Dex or AC bonus for "reflex" saves; disadvantage on movement-related Str/Dex skill checks

Add specific armors in a non-core module, but keep to the generic categories only for core. Add a masterwork armor property that increases AC bonus by 1.

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First of all, what's in the playtest is not necessarily core.  Core is going to be the most basic of basics. Something you can learn easily.

Using the Core of Core Items and the current playtest as my guide, the Core Armor rules might look as follows:

NONE
Unarmored, AC 10
LIGHT (Full Dex bonus)
Leather, AC 11
Padded, AC 12 (speed -5)
MEDIUM (Half Dex bonus)
Hide, AC 13
Scale, AC 14 (stealth disadvantage)
HEAVY (No Dex bonus, stealth disadvantage)
Chain, AC 16
Plate, AC 18 (speed -5)
SHIELD
Small, +1 (can use with ranged weapons)
Large, +2 

Expansions can add more types of armor with different effects, or rules for effectiveness against different types of damage.
I used to be a big fan of the idea of armor resistance (or DR) based on attack type.  It makes sense, and it would add another layer to weapon/armor choice. 

But then I realized it would incentivize a weird in-game armor/weapon switching mechanic.  Every fighter with half a brain should carry a mace, a slashing sword and a piercing sword, and then switch weapons (even round to round) depending on the enemy.  After getting a bag of holding, every PC would/should carry multiple types of armor, and switch armor depending on the enemies' weapons.

Scout ahead, come back "the orcs have clubs" = everyone puts on their banded armor (or splint or chain, depending). 

That's not even metagaming, it's what characters (and smart NPCs) woudl do. 

I think I would like to see minimum attribute requirements for armor and weapon use.  This way there doesn't need to be intra equipment balance, and there doens't need to be a system which is balanced using price.  Some armore and weapons could just be better than others, but require a less optimized attribute distribution. 

So that studded leather doesn't need to be balanced against leather by having a lower dex modifier, instead studded leather could just require 12 strength to wear. 
I think I would like to see minimum attribute requirements for armor and weapon use.


That's interesting.  Though most armor isn't all that tough to wear.  Perhaps make it a Con or Str requirement.  After all, you'll be wearing the armor all day.  Perhaps the rule is:

After one hour of wearing armor, you incur disadvantage on all Ability checks if the higher of your Strength or Constitution scores does not equal or exceed the AC of the armor you wear.  If both exceed the AC of the armor you wear, you are even capable of sleeping or trancing in that armor.  

So only the healthiest or strongest of warriors could wear plate.

Under those rules, I'd make the list as follows:
NONE
Unarmored, AC 10

LIGHT
Padded, AC 11
Leather, AC 12

MEDIUM
Hide, AC 13
Scale, AC 14

HEAVY
Chain, AC 15
Plate, AC 17

SHIELD
Small, +1 (can use with ranged weapons)
Large, +2  

I wouldn't even bother with the Dexterity, speed or stealth penalties.  If you can heft the armor, you can move quietly in it. So people will gravitate to the heaviest armor they can wield (and perhaps keep a separate suit of "pajama armor" based on the lower of their Strength or Constitution), which is fine.
What I like about what wrecan has above is that it finally gives some incentive to have both strength and dex, at least in moderation. 

a str 16 dex 12 or str 13 dex 16 fighter just makes me so much happier than the current str 18 dex 8 or str 8 dex 18 versions that the rules so strongly incentivize. 
I like the STR/CON requirement for medium/heavy armor, but would prefer to keep the dex/stealth disadvantage. I still feel there is something missing from the incentive to wear heavy and medium armor though. I'm not sure if I would suggest the following as Core, but it provides a distinct difference between a (using wrecan's numbers above) 17 AC character that achieved that AC through Leather and an 20 Dex and a 17 AC character that achieved it through heavy armor.

I kind of liked the old Armor as DR approach from 3.X, but feel it might needlessly add complexity to the game (subtracting damage from each attack is a little annoying, particularly since you pretty much always stop to check to see if the DM had accounted for it when reporting damage incurred). So, without creating a new mechanic I was thinking: Medium Armor grants 5+MDB bonus hit points and Heavy Armor grants 10+MDB bonus hit points when worn. Seems simple and does a relatively good job of replicating damage reduction. Just say that removing/donning armor doesn't change hit point totals if injured and below Max HP - Bonus HP granted from armor.
I like the STR/CON requirement for medium/heavy armor, but would prefer to keep the dex/stealth disadvantage. I still feel there is something missing from the incentive to wear heavy and medium armor though.


How about this...

After one hour of wearing armor, you may incur disadvantage on all Ability checks.  However, if the higher of either your Strength or Constitution scores equals or exceeds the AC of the armor you wear, you incur disadvantage only on Stealth checks due to armor.  Also, if both exceed the AC of the armor you wear, you incur no disadvantage from wearing armor, and are even capable of sleeping or trancing in that armor.*

ARMOR
Padded, AC 11

Leather, AC 12
Hide, AC 13
Scale, AC 14
Chain, AC 15
Plate, AC 17

SHIELD
Small, +1 (can use with ranged weapons)
Large, +2  

*Rogues should get a class ability at 1st level that eliminates the stealth disadvantage if either their Strength or Constitution equals or exceeds the armor's AC.  Otherwise, a leather armor weilding rogue needs a 12 Strength, 12 Constitution, and a high Dexterity.

I think the distinction between light, medium, and heavy armor is artifical anyway.  I'd do away with it altogether.
I do like wrecans approach, since there is a natural balance between abilities (especially with point buy). I would think that a person with 20s in str/con/dex would be nigh untouchable.

I still feel that Dex should be removed from AC, since it is the primary ability for reflex saves. Use a class bonus to represent skill at avoiding attacks.

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I do like wrecans approach, since there is a natural balance between abilities (especially with point buy). I would think that a person with 20s in str/con/dex would be nigh untouchable.


They could cap AC at 25 like they currently cap Ability scores at 20.

Also, all you would need is Str and Con at 17 and Dex at 20. Then you can sleep in plate armor get no disadvantage and with a large shield have AC 24.  You'd have to roll really lucky to get that though.
I think the problem with trying to balance DEX and armor stems from using armor to avoid damage when it should mitigate it instead.  I'd like to see a fix that makes those two things separate.

If we had that, I think it would incentivize the use of heavy armor and would reduce the benefit of DEX as a one-stop combat stat.  Relying on damage avoidance is riskier than having good damage mitigation, and I think that would bear out in play.  
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The problem is that most damage mitigation rules are complicated.  Does armor grant resistance?  DR?  Temporary HP?  That stuff's a pain to track.  You want to calculate a target number once and not worry about it again. 
Armor as HP isn't so bad to track, as long as you don't take the armor off.  I mean, adjusting your max HP is no more work than adjusting your AC - it's just one number, that you only change out of combat.

It's just kind of weird that, traditionally, the classes with the heaviest armor proficiencies are also the ones with the most HP anyway, and this only increases the disparity.

The metagame is not the game.

Personally, I would like to see Armor and Combat Defense as two divorced entities, in which Armor gives you damage reduction and Combat Defense allows you to avoid taking hits.

For the complaint about DR being too complicated, in a game where you have to track resources like spells, combat dice, daily powers, etc. I really don't think it has to be beyond a player's ability to handle. Maybe in the basic version of the game you don't get as complex as having different armors granted DR to different types of damages (ie - plate is better vs X, but padded is better vs Y) and instead just have very basic: Light Armor = DR Value 1, Medium = DR Value 2, and Heavy = DR Value 3; with whatever penalties are appropriate for the Medium / Heavy to balance out their higher DR values. Then you can just leave the "type" of armor as fluff - ie: Light Armor can be things such as leather, padded cloth, etc. And then in the more advanced modules you can get all sorts of creative if you want to with what grants what.

More generally speaking, there are a few things regarding armor that I don't want to see.
1) Armor Class / Armor advancement being cost and coin driven. Basically, I don't like that the limiting factor on "Why wouldn't I just use Plate Mail instead of Banded Mail?" to be "You don't have enough money for Plate Mail yet." If you need armor class / defense to be level dependent find a different way of doing it besides wealth (class level bonus to Combat Defense for example).

2) If you take the time to make different armor types, there need to be upsides and downsides to the different armor types. If you just say, wearing armor gives you a bonus to defense - and leave it at that fine. If you say there are different armor types, and they're light, medium, and heavy, there better be something distinct about all of those and there shouldn't be one that is far superior for characters. And if you go so far as to say there are multiple kinds of heavy armor: plate mail, banded mail, splint mail, etc. Then all of those better have differentiating mechanics with their own upsides and downsides, and not just names. Otherwise leave the names as fluff / written examples of names.

3) The material types are great little extra bits of info - dragon scales, mithril, etc. But don't put those in the core. Make them a module.

Just some opinions - don't gore me too badly for them.

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Thought of another option...

After one hour of wearing armor, you incur disadvantage on any Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity checks, unless the Ability score for that check equals or exceeds the AC of the armor you wear.  Moreover, your speed is reduced by five feet if the AC of the armor you wear exceeds your Strength score.

ARMOR
Padded, AC 11

Leather, AC 12
Hide, AC 13
Scale, AC 14
Chain, AC 15
Plate, AC 17

SHIELD
Small, +1 (can use with ranged weapons)
Large, +2  

I wasn't crazy with the idea that your Knowledge checks were being hampered by your armor.
The problem is that most damage mitigation rules are complicated.  Does armor grant resistance?  DR?  Temporary HP?  That stuff's a pain to track.  You want to calculate a target number once and not worry about it again. 



I suspect that's why D&D has never gone this route.  Having separate 'to-hit' and 'to-damage' rolls makes obvious logical sense, but it's rejected as too bulky, and things that *really* don't care about armor (like boulders and fire) use reflex saves. 

Having armor as temporary hitpoints might be the easiest to track, but it would be difficult to scale with level.  With damage and not attack bonus scaling with level, the temp hitpoints will either be too much at low levels, or effectively nothing at high levels.  Although on further thought, I might not have an issue with this.  A high level attacker is going to be better at piercing through the soft spots in armor, and armor would logically be less and less effective as you're facing higher skilled opponents.  And if you want something that actually scales, you have to find rare and powerful magical armor (which could provide more temp hitpoints).

I would still have a strength requirement for armor:

Unless the armor specifically says otherwise, you cannot gain a base AC from armor which is higher than your strength score.  If you wear armor that would grant you an AC higher than your strength score, the AC granted from that armor is your strength score. 

Then have armors grant temporary hitpoints, and suddenly the heavier armors are relevant again, and a high strength - high dexterity PC wearing heavy armor, has the highest AC in the game.
For the complaint about DR being too complicated, in a game where you have to track resources like spells, combat dice, daily powers, etc. I really don't think it has to be beyond a player's ability to handle. Maybe in the basic version of the game you don't get as complex


We're discussing the basic version fo the game.  Certainly, we could have optional rules for DR-granting armor.
If we go attribute requirement on armor, I would rather see con, if for no other reason to give the stat another job.

perhaps change parry to an action, (reaction?) where you make an "attack" vs. an incoming strike Using your con bonus for the roll. a you can either have shields add + to the block roll and say a block is no damage, or if you successfully block, you roll for damage reduction (buckler 1d4+con, shield 1d6+con, large 1d8+con, tower 1d12 + con)
 
Then have armors grant temporary hitpoints


How are those temporary hp restored?  Mending and make whole spells?  Does the person have to bring smithing tools in the dungeon?   Spare parts?  I foresee bags of holding with a dozen suits of armor in it (or a bevy of henchmen dragging spare suits) so the fighter can change armor between each battle.
For the complaint about DR being too complicated, in a game where you have to track resources like spells, combat dice, daily powers, etc. I really don't think it has to be beyond a player's ability to handle. Maybe in the basic version of the game you don't get as complex


We're discussing the basic version fo the game.  Certainly, we could have optional rules for DR-granting armor.



And I don't think DR is so complicated it CAN'T be in the basic version of the game. See the rest of the sentence you cut off.
What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion Make yourselves scabs?
If we go attribute requirement on armor, I would rather see con, if for no other reason to give the stat another job. 


The problem is that's a serious tax on clerics and fighters.  Wizards don't wear armor anyway and a rogue can spare a 12 Con to wear leather.
@jfriant.

DR is still a pain that some people don't want.  They don't want to have to subtract 2 damage from every melee attack against them.  The whole point of the core system is set it and forget it.

We don't know how complicated the spell system will be so comparing it to the current playtest is not useful.  Mearls has stated the following:

So, the first big picture goal is to make a version of D&D that speaks to the recognizable elements of the game
> we need to make a game that has a simple, robust core that is easy to expand in a variety of directions 
-Article

Armor as DR or armor as THP is not a "recognizable element" of the game.  So I think all this discussion about changing fundamentally how armor is going to work at the core is folly.  It's not going to happen.  That sort of rule can only appear in a supplement or expansion.

That's why the conversation can only be productive if we stick to what armor has always been: a target DC for melee attacks. 
How are those temporary hp restored?  Mending and make whole spells?  Does the person have to bring smithing tools in the dungeon?   Spare parts?  I foresee bags of holding with a dozen suits of armor in it (or a bevy of henchmen dragging spare suits) so the fighter can change armor between each battle.


It gets back to the "hit points as abstraction rather than only actual wound" concept. I view hit points as staying power, whether that is my body taking a lick or letting my armor do it for me. If viewed as an abstraction, I think it's fine for CLWs and HD recovery to restore hit points provided by armor.

Since this could quickly devolve into fighters constantly donning and removing armor, I think I would rule that: after a long rest when a character first puts on heavy/medium armor, they would gain temporary HPs and their max HP would increase by the same amount. As long as they continued to wear the armor, their max HP would stay at the improved value (CLWs and HD expenditures could heal up to the new improved value). For simplicity's sake, I would rule that taking off the armor and donning it again would only give the advantage of the max HP boost rather than granting any bonus hit points to prevent abuse. At no point in time would a character's modified HP total be greater than their modified max HP total (i.e. you can't put on plate to gain max bonus HP and then switch to hide and keep them).

I think it's a ruleset that could be simplified through refinement. This is just kind of off-the-cuff and provides a different feel to wearing a differnet type of armor.
For the complaint about DR being too complicated, in a game where you have to track resources like spells, combat dice, daily powers, etc. I really don't think it has to be beyond a player's ability to handle. Maybe in the basic version of the game you don't get as complex


We're discussing the basic version fo the game.  Certainly, we could have optional rules for DR-granting armor.



If you want it to be balanced with the rest of the system, it has to be an integral part of the combat system.  Damage values and chances to hit have to be calculated assuming that all combatants will be easier to hit, but will be taking less damage per hit in varying amounts.  Clobbing it on as a module wouldn't work well.

The current system assumes that scoring a hit is the challenge, so shifting to a system in which scoring the hit is the challenge against some opponents, while dealing damage on a hit is the challenge against others (and various combinations therein) requires a lot of fundamental adjustment.
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That's why the conversation can only be productive if we stick to what armor has always been: a target DC for melee attacks. 

Agreed. Should Dex be removed from the general AC formula for core? IMO, it should. Also, I'm not fond of Con's impact on HP currently. Tying Con to the AC creates a pseudo-quadratic growth where a higher Con means a higher AC, so in addition to being harder to hit, you can take more hits as well. I agree with the general solution you proposed, but I am curious what changes should happen to Dex and Con so as to not tip the scales too far.

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If we go attribute requirement on armor, I would rather see con, if for no other reason to give the stat another job. 


The problem is that's a serious tax on clerics and fighters.  Wizards don't wear armor anyway and a rogue can spare a 12 Con to wear leather.



serious tax?  Fighters have always been encouraged to go high con.  If memory serves, they got better bonuses from it in the wayback time.

for them I do not see it any different than choosing a str/dex build.  If you want an armor/hp fighter, go con.  If you want dodgey/ shooty, go dex.

now clerics, it would be rough on, considering they need wisdom and potentially strength if the go melee.  Still if the higher numbers apply to the better armors, that seems to be a legitimate build choice.  "Do I want to be St. swingsalot or Abbot Awesomearmor? Or do I go crusader build and deal with a tertiary score in my wisdom?"
Armor as DR or armor as THP is not a "recognizable element" of the game.  So I think all this discussion about changing fundamentally how armor is going to work at the core is folly.  It's not going to happen.  That sort of rule can only appear in a supplement or expansion.

That's why the conversation can only be productive if we stick to what armor has always been: a target DC for melee attacks. 


I'm not sure if anyone is suggesting taking away that component though, I know I'm not. Armor is still the target number for an attack DC, I'm just suggesting that medium and heavy armors need to provide something more than what they currently offer to incentivize their use over being a Dex based fighter in light armor with superior initiative and relatively equal to hit/damage. There seem to be a several alien concepts to D&D that we're considering in the current playtest, from advantage/disadvantage to martial damage dice that could end up in core. I don't see any reason to not spitball some ideas here.
I would like to see armor looking like this:

Base AC is 10. Armor increases your AC depending on armor type.

No Armor: + Dex bonus
Light Armor: +1 AC + Dex Bonus
Medium Armor: +2 AC + 1/2 Dex or + 1/2 Con bonus (req Str 11+ or suffer disadvantage on Dex checks)
Heavy Armor: +3 AC + Con bonus (req Str 13+ or suffer disadvantage on Dex checks)

Armor is easily reflavorable.  Heavy armor might be plate for the dwarven fighter or thick scales for the dragonborn berserker.

I would also like to see a return to 4e style HP.  Your Con score gives a big boost at level 1, but does not affect HP gained each level. While this reduces the value of Con overall, my suggested change to armor would more than make up the difference.
How are those temporary hp restored?  Mending and make whole spells?  Does the person have to bring smithing tools in the dungeon?   Spare parts?  I foresee bags of holding with a dozen suits of armor in it (or a bevy of henchmen dragging spare suits) so the fighter can change armor between each battle.

Hit Points from armor don't have to represent armor which falls apart as it takes damage for you - it can just as easily represent the armor's ability to increase your own capacity to withstand injury.  If you have 20 HP and your armor increases your HP by 10, then a hit for 15 damage goes from taking off 75% of your life to taking off 50% of your life.  It's kind of like armor is reducing damage by a percentage ... and impedes healing by the same amount ... except the math is much easier since you don't have to do it for every attack.

The metagame is not the game.

How are those temporary hp restored?  Mending and make whole spells?  Does the person have to bring smithing tools in the dungeon?   Spare parts?  I foresee bags of holding with a dozen suits of armor in it (or a bevy of henchmen dragging spare suits) so the fighter can change armor between each battle.

Hit Points from armor don't have to represent armor which falls apart as it takes damage for you - it can just as easily represent the armor's ability to increase your own capacity to withstand injury.  If you have 20 HP and your armor increases your HP by 10, then a hit for 15 damage goes from taking off 75% of your life to taking off 50% of your life.  It's kind of like armor is reducing damage by a percentage ... and impedes healing by the same amount ... except the math is much easier since you don't have to do it for every attack.



I wish hitpoints had been renamed "plot armor" and they regenerated after every scene.  That would have gotten the message across about what they are so much better.

A gritty module could have included rules for wounds and whatnot
If you want it to be balanced with the rest of the system, it has to be an integral part of the combat system.


Which is just another way of saying you reject the notion of the barebones core rules that Mearls proposes in his article. I don't see that as being productive.
I stills think a simple baroness system with modules for added complexity is best.

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!

Please don't put words in my mouth.  I don't reject the notion of a pared down core system; I reject the assertion that DR is too complicated to be useful to represent the benefit of wearing armor.

If DR was used, it would have to be part of the base system.

The base system need not be complex.


   
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
DR adds another layer of complexity, subtraction of damage, to the steps of weapons based damage dealing for about 75% of the PCs in a party.

It isn't hard but it will slow the game very slightly and keeping DR up with damage dealing is usually a complex affair.

Best not to use DR in core.

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!

Fighters have always been encouraged to go high con.  If memory serves, they got better bonuses from it in the wayback time.


I don't think so.

But it is a tax if being a fighter means MAD while being a rogue or wizard is simple SAD.  A wizard needs only Int for combat.  A rogue needs only Dex for combat.  He can allocate other Abilities to improve the other pillars like Exploration and Socialization.

A fighter under this scheme has to dedicate two Abilities to combat effectiveness and thus if he wanted to use Wisdom for Exploration or Charisma for socialization, he's either got to sacrifice combat-readiness or the other pillar.  That's a sacrifice rogues and wizards don't have.  The problem is even worse for clerics who are already MAD and would now be triple-MAD.
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