Defense and Damage Reduction?

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I'm just curious if 4E will have this. I.E.: Roll Defense to hit and then roll damage. Say if you roll 8, and the NPC's DR (or AC) is 4, you do four points of damage.

First posted on this thread:

Like this chart:

Padded 1
Leather 2
Studded Leather 3
Chain Shirt 4

Hide 4
Scalemail 4
Chainmail 5
Breastplate 5

Splint Mail 6
Banded Mail 6
Half-Plate 7
Full Plate 8

Buckler 1
Light Shield 1
Heavy Shield 2
Tower Shield 4

DR (AC) = Armor + Natural + Enchancemnt, etc.

And Defense = 10 + Class Bonus + Dex Mod + Dodge Bonus + Shield Bonus
+ Other Mods such as Circumstance, Competence, Insight and Luck

Defense would work like BAB, i.e.: GOOD, AVERAGE, and POOR.

Rogues, Monks (if they are in), Rangers, and Bards (if they are in) = GOOD
These all all classes with high reflex Saves, so other classes that came in with high Ref Saves would get this as well.

Wizards and Sorcerers, and Warlocks = POOR
This reflects the fact that they have little to no combat training.

Everyone Else = Average
Although Fighters have a lot of comabat training, a Rogue should be able to dodge better.

First off, sorry I couldn't just cut and paste from MS Paint, the image is prettier that way Anyway, I tried to use the existing system where applicable. Armor gives DR instead of AC Bonus, and the bonus is the same, so a Human Ftr wearing +2 Full Plate w/ a +3 Shield would have DR 15.
How it works is in this example someone doing 20 points damage would only do 5. Rolling a Crit bypasses DR.

Defense is analagous to BAB. Classes with High Ref Saves get the Good Progression, Wizards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, etc. get the Poor Progression, while everyone else gets the Average Progression. At first DR might seem high, but:

Full Plate +5 and Heavy Steel Shield +5 = DR 20/-
20th Level Fighter w/Greatsword Specialization and 33 STR does 2d6 +25
= max. dam. = 37 pts.
and w/10 pt. Power Attack = 47 Pts.

Defense Roll

20th Level Rogue w/Dodge Feat and 33 DEX has 43 Defense
20th Level Fighter w/ Greatsword Weapon Focus and +5 Greatsword and
33 STR and +20 BAB has +37 to hit and hits on a 6 or higher
= 70% chance to hit
20th Level Maxed-Out Cleric has 45% Chance to Hit
20th Level Maxed-Out Wizard has 20% Chance to Hit

If Example Rogue has 5 Ranks in Acrobatics and is using the
Total Defense Action:
Ftr Chance = 40%
Clr Chance = 15%
Wiz Chance = 5%

So comabt would be faster:

Step #1: Roll d20 + Mods to hit Def
Step #2: If you roll equal to or higher targets defense, you hit; otherwise, target dodges out of the way
If you hit, roll damage and subtract from targets DR (the DM usually tells the PC how much damage-if any-gets through)
Viola!! Your Done

Monster Natural Armor would be similar to Unearthed Arcana
Working on Cold Iron, Adamantine, etc.
Suggestions are welcome :

I haven't slept in 24 hours so I hope my math is right...

Any clue as to if WotC is doing this? It's a house rule in my games, it's fast, and it seems to work.



I like the idea of Defense and Damage Reduction being used as opposed to AC as it now is. While it is slightly more complex (not so if you have DR already), it is more realistic (I realize this isn't necessarily the goal) and also more logical.

AC being almost wholly dependent on items (aside from Dexterity, and things like the Dodge Feat) and doesn't scale as you gain levels. That is a major problem as I see it, because it overemphasizes items. Defense Bonuses that are gained with character level are a great way to balance this.

While I think it is clear that Armor and Natural Armor and enhancements to those values fall into the 'DR' part of protection, I think that Deflection does not. Deflection would seem to deflect--meaning cause the blow to miss, and in my view fits better with the 'dodge' part of protection. Shields...that could go either way, because it prevents you from being hit directly (more akin to a parry), but if you consider the shield part of you, then it absorbs damage. Either way would be acceptable in my view.

I must agree.

Having done a bit of fighting in plate and chain, armor certainly does not make it harder to hit you, in fact, it can slow you down considerably (pauldrons got in the way of the swing, breast plate not articulated enough to make tight rolls). Armor, especially heavy armor, makes it much easier to hit you but the trade off is that you don't take much damage from the attack. You still feel the blow, but not nearly as much as without armor. I favor the use of armor as DR and your reflex save as AC (defense score).
Wow people, thanks for the encouraging words!! :D
Kam, good point about the deflection bonus, I'll have to change that. Like I said, lack of sleep ;) Plus, since 3.x had DR, it already existed, so no new mechanics added. Rool to hit, if you hit roll damage, damage you do - opponents DR, = final damage.

Nice to know another that has trained in real armor ! Since there will be weapon speeds in 4E, maybe ther should be penatlties for heacvy armor? Maybe like an armor check penalty applied to initiative? You could factor this in during character creation, way before combat begins. So, say someone with a -3 check penalty, a +3 Dex Mod, and the Improved Initiative Feat would have a +4 bonus to initiative instead of +7.

As an aside, weapons could work this way too, thus making someone attacking with a dagger much faster than one with a greataxe :P


So, in this system a 1st Level Fighter with a 13 DEX wielding a greatsword and wearing full plate has a DEF of 11 and an AC of 8/-. Easy to hit and Hard to damage. And he should be. He's clunking around in Full Plate. But in this system even a goblin can roll a crit (or two in a row against the same character, see latest platest;) and Bypass the AC :D


Why let shields give DR? Unless my knowledge of combat is way off, you use shields to prevent your body from taking any hits, so I don't see any reason why it shouldn't keep on granting AC/Defense instead.

Asides from that; I'm all for an armour-DR system. Your numbers might be a tad too high, though - I don't like the thought of low-level creatures only being able to harm the party fighter or cleric on critical hits.
Here's the problem: flat DR doesn't work. For example, a rogue might deal 1d6+1 unless he gets a sneak attack. In contrast, the raging barbarian can easily deals 2d6+7. DR 5 (say) will almost completely negate the rogue's strikes, but will be merely token protection against the barbarian. As level increases, the problem gets worse, since high-end damage potential goes up a lot fast than low-end does.

One alternative is fractional DR, that reduces anywhere from 10% to 75% of the incoming damage. That works with the scaling issue, but even calculating 1/2 can be a pain, let alone oddball fractions.
Percentage DR sounds better than static. It'll definitely save a lot of fighters' lives when it comes to getting smacked around...
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A similar mechanic to Damage Reduction, but better for modeling armor in my opinion:
Armor provides a resilience score. When you take damage less than your resilience score, that damage is reduced by half. You still take full damage if the damage is over your resilience score. Ergo, light hits become lighter, but powerful attacks slice right through armor.

Leather armor might provide a Resilience Score of say 8, while full-plate would provide one of 20. Heavier armor might also provide a penalty to your Reflex Defense, making you easier to hit.

So a character wearing leather armor is hit with a dagger for 6 points of damage, this is less than his Resilience Score so he only takes 3. However if a dragon bites him for 16 points of damage he takes the full amount.

There could be ways of improving the Resilience provided by armor with feats or talents.

I've worked out the balance pretty well in Star Wars: Saga, but unless I get a better picture of damage output in 4E, specific numbers are not forthcoming.
I’ve played around quite a bit with the armor system. It just seems over-simplified and abstract. I’ve tried to develop it from a realistic modeling approach while keeping in the spirit of d20.

Design Parameters for more Realism:
1. Armor reduces the force of strike, not the chance of the strike hitting
2. There should be some way to bypass the armor with a lucky or well placed strike
3. Shields both reduce the force of a strike if used passively, but can also be used actively to deflect and knock away blows

So how can we model these parameters?
1. Obviously armor should give DR and this DR correlated to hardness and hitpoints of the material used. For example, leather armor could have a DR of 2 while a steel breastplate would have DR 10
2. Armor should be given an armor bonus as well to indicate how difficult it is to bypass. For example, it would be difficult to completely bypass a full body suit of padded armor even though such a suit provides little DR. On the other hand, a chain shirt only protects the torso but gives better DR. Some possible examples:
a. Padded Suit: +10 AC, DR 1
b. Breastplate: +4 AC, DR 10
c. Full Chain Suit with Hood: +12 AC, DR 7
d. Studded Leather Cuirass with Gauntlets and Greaves: +8 AC, DR 4
3. Shields should have an AC and DR system like armor, but also provide a dodge type bonus to reflect their ability to knock blows away. This bonus would be lsot when flat footed or denied Dex since you wouldn’t be able to actively use the shield

Now, one more adjustment needs to be made for the sake of balance and realism. DEX should now be the attack modifier, with STR be only for damage. This allows Rogue-types to focus on bypassing the armor completely by beating the AC and avoiding the DR. This makes sense realistically as well. And Fighter-types can focus on just smashing though the armor by doing enough damage to basically ignore the DR.

This also makes sense for changes in creature size. Bigger creatures get STR bonuses and DEX penalties. A giant won’t likely beat your AC if DEX is now used to hit, but that makes sense since they shouldn’t be finessing a strike though a weak spot in your armor anyway. Instead the giant will just try to crush you AND your armor with it’s massive strength. The armor will help, but it will still hurt. On the flip side, a smaller creature with DEX bonuses will be able to bypass the armor easier since the have better control of the strikes and those little gaps are huge to them. But then the damage won’t be much because the are weak.

The use of special materials like mithral and adamantine would also be very beneficial since they would significantly increase the DR of armor. Also, you could have two types of magical armor bonuses now. Transmutation like effects that boosted the DR (imagine leather armor as strong as steel), or abjuration effects that boosted the AC (imagine magical energy fields)

Just some random thoughts....
Just do what Iron Heroes does (written by Mearls, btw). Armor adds to DR, but not in a static way. For example, full plate gives 1d8 DR. That means a dagger can still penetrate, but not all the time.
The system that I found and like is by Kenneth S Hood and is called Grim-N-Gritty. It is written for D20 systems based on 3E. It can be very deadly. It treats shields as Defense and Armor as protection. It also brings a penetration factor to weapons.
calvinNHobbes, you finally clarified in my mind the Dex vs Str issue.

Dexterity could cover agility, fine motor control / precision, and reflexes. In D&D, it primarily covers the latter two. Stuff relying on athleticism is as likely to be Str:

Just look at the skill table:
Str: Climb, Jump, Swim
Dex: Balance, Escape Artist, Hide, Move Silently, Ride, Sleight of Hand, Tumble, Use Rope.

Jump is a skill that relies as much on timing and balance as raw power or endurance, and it's listed as Str. Of the Dex skills, only Tumble is althletic.

While timing and reflexes certainly help swing a weapon accurately, what really matters is athletic: your ability to keep a fast moving weapon on the track you want it to, despite your opponent's attempts to avoid or deflect it. Touch attacks are more of a Dex thing, because the power is transferred is independent of the quality of the blow. But melee (and thrown) attacks are all about athleticism and power, and that puts them firmly in the domain of Str.
Hey Nom,

I totally agree that is how D&D currently has DEX and STR split. The problem I have is that it becomes inconsistent. So when you increase in size, you become more clumsy but you are more athletic? You become better at jump 20 feet in the air and landing on your feet, but worse at doing a cartwheel? Doesn't make sense to me.

Really STR and DEX are directly related. DEX is simply the application of STR based on mass. For example, two people of equal STR, but one weighs twice as much. The heavier person will have a lower DEX.

Of course the real issue is game balance. One ability being required for attack and defense is hard to balance. But I think it is possible.
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