Armor as hit points.

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Armor as DR has been proved many times a bad alternative to actual armor as AC system mainly because armors can become meaningless or impregnable depending on your attacker style of choice.

An interesting idea would be in place of troublesome DR is just grant the wearer of an armor extra hp in top of their natural one.

The hp would represent how many punishment can stand an armor before it becomes just ineffective considering than the attacker has focused the blows in getting through the armor. That hp couldn't be healed with spells or naturally but would be repaired by the characters using armorsmith checks ala warforger or using mending spells.

The advantage of this besides simplicity is that is perfectly balanced regardless the attacker style since every hit fully counts towards the victory.
You need to come up with a way to figure out how much damage goes to HP and how much to armor (AP?).

This is actually like a lot of first person shooter games, even as far back as Doom. You'd pick up a suit of armor that gave you either 100 or 200 points of armor, and either 50% or 67% would go to AP instead of HP.

I've thought of doing this too. There is some merit to it, but it gives a bit more bookkeeping.
You need to come up with a way to figure out how much damage goes to HP and how much to armor (AP?).

This is actually like a lot of first person shooter games, even as far back as Doom. You'd pick up a suit of armor that gave you either 100 or 200 points of armor, and either 50% or 67% would go to AP instead of HP.

I've thought of doing this too. There is some merit to it, but it gives a bit more bookkeeping.

Actually I'm thinking he would do it more like tempory hit points. Basically everytime you get hit it would take from the armor until it's gone.
I think this is a great idea, and it is even simpler than you might think. becasue HP's don't actually mean how much meat, your opponant has to cut through in order to kill you. It also includes a character getting worn out by countinlue fighting. If that is the case, you could just say that the armor means things don't hurt you as much if you are wearing armor, you don't need to beat through armor before you get to your characters normal HP's.

Example light armor could give 1 hp per level. Once you take your armor off you only lose HP if your current HP are above your base HP.

Med armor could give 2 HP per level and heavy 3 HP per level. Now this is totally just off the top of my head and of course it would need some tweeking after you play with it a bit.
The problem with armor working as temporary hit points is the dungeon crawl. Unless you have an artificer in your party (is that a core class in 4E?) you'll probably have to stop every battle to repair your armor, and fighters will need to dump their limited skill points into armorcrafting. And you thought non magic users got annoyed every time the spell casters have to rest . . .
The problem with armor working as temporary hit points is the dungeon crawl. Unless you have an artificer in your party (is that a core class in 4E?) you'll probably have to stop every battle to repair your armor, and fighters will need to dump their limited skill points into armorcrafting. And you thought non magic users got annoyed every time the spell casters have to rest . . .

Well, armor repairing spells can be included in the game, in 3e there was a repair spells for constructs.

Fighter characters with a background as armorsmiths can have talents and or skills for patching their armors after an encounter since bringing the armor to zero points shouldn't be equivalent to totally destroying it. This gives the fighters something to do between fights.
If "HP = stamina" idea is used, armor HP could be taken off last, making damaged armor only occur when you really get the snot beaten out of you. This makes sense under the "second wind" idea. This decreases how often you need to be repairing the stuff, but it makes repairing a real part of the game. It also makes armor the last level of protection -- after dodges, parries, shield blocks, and the like.

I really really really love this idea.
Here's an important flaw to this system... what's to stop a character from going into a dungeon with a vast amount of expendable armor, which they plan to repair at a later time? They can go into battle with one suit, wear it down while killing the encounter, then swap armor to be mostly healed for the next fight.

This screams abuse WAY too loudly.
Here's an important flaw to this system... what's to stop a character from going into a dungeon with a vast amount of expendable armor, which they plan to repair at a later time? They can go into battle with one suit, wear it down while killing the encounter, then swap armor to be mostly healed for the next fight.

This screams abuse WAY too loudly.

Well, encumbrance for one, the cost to repair said armour, and the time it takes to change in and out of the armour. The last one could literally have a character caught with his pants down.

Now, another way to deal with this is that if an armour is reduced to 0 hp, it is destroyed. While not a perfect system, it is a very interesting idea.
I've encountered this concept in Palladium, and it's really not worth it. It slows down combat a *lot*. Repairs can be a real pain, you have to track separate hitpoint totals, and you have to determine what attacks and spells can and cannot bypass armor; that's one more thing to look up in the PH. I say again: Not worth it.
Mechanically, armour as temp hp removes one flaw of armour as DR: it applies equally regardless of attack dynamic. However, to make it work you still need to deal with the linear vs fractional issue.

AC (defense?) and attack bonus are fractional effects. Each point of attack increases expected yield per round by 5%, and each point of AC reduces it by 5%. It seems that AC vs attack bonus are intended to increase at about the same rate, cancelling each other out for an "equivalent" opponent.

HP scale with level, linearly. A level 5 PC might have 2x the hp of a level 1 PC. A level 10 PC might have 3x the hp of a level 1 PC.

In order to balance this, damage needs to scale at roughly the same rate. Thus, if it takes 5 good hits at level 1 to reduce a PC to 0 hp, the same should be true with level 5 or level 10 weapons or attacks. The alternative is to bias attack bonus growth over AC, but it's easy for this to get out of hand (as it often did in 3.5).

So what about armour as temp HP? When armour grants AC, it applies a constant fractional scaling factor: each point of armour makes your HP worth 5% more. For armour as temp hp to fill the same role, it too needs to be worth more at higher levels: a suit of armour that grants +10 hp to a level 1 PC needs to grant +20 to a level 5 PC and +30 to a level 10 PC. Otherwise, we suffer the second problem of armour as DR: depreciation with level.

Note that I'm assuming the temp hp pool is restored automatically when per-encounter abilities refresh. If it has its own, independent restoration mechanism then this seems to be adding complexity for the sake of complexity, in opposition to gameplay.
I partly like the system. I like repairing between encounters. But: Armor should be damaged between normal and bloodied status. Or it could be a comination of both AC and extra HP... But I don´t know if its worth the bookkeeping... I would rather have a rule which says that you have to repair armor if you were beaten to bloodied condition or it loses 1 point of AC and check penalty goes up by 1 point until repaired.
Personally, I don't like the idea of treating the armor as temp HP. I can see it absorbing (taking) damage, but I still think you should suffer some amount of HP damage the mean while, even if it's converted to nonlethal. The exact amounts might vary based on type (light, medium, and heavy), if that still exists in 4E.

As for when the armor reaches 0 AP, I'd say that rather than being destroyed, it stops being able to effectively absorb damage. From that point on, all damage goes directly to HP, and you still incur the usual max Dex, spell failure, and armor check penalties (or their 4E equivalents). 0 AP armor would be sort of a "worst of both worlds" other than that you still have it to repair later on.
umm, the most simple way to fix that problem while still making sense (armor works all the way until being rendered ineffective) would be just divide equally the damage received between the armor and the character. as far as I know isn't hard at all to divide by 2.

This has the side effect that a low level character or one with low hd like a wizard will not fully benefit of an armor with hp greater than theirs and so makes sense for them to use lighter armors for equivalent benefit with lower penalties.

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About "what is able to ignore the armor" is easy to tell by just asking at 3.x "what is able to ignore DR".

Still remember that with the inclusion of such a mechanism, it will be backed by spells, talents, feats and magic items for extra play. By example with this rules a radiant energy weapon deals full damage to hp, also can exist fire warding enchantments that allows armor to be efective against fire attacks and such.

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As a last radical idea related to all this would be if a character´s total hp would be determined by the armor he is wearing, that is armorless characters gets d4, light armored d6, medium armored d8 and heavy armored d10 (of course Im talking about average values of the dices since would be funny to have more hp without armor than with light armor).
Actually I'm thinking he would do it more like temporary hit points. Basically every time you get hit it would take from the armor until it's gone.

But the problem is it is fully possible to kill someone without even damaging their armor that badly. If the armor had a bloodied condition it could have three settings, undamaged when it takes 75% of the damage out of the player, damaged it takes 50%, and destroyed it is useless. This is for heavy armor. Then it would be 75%/25% for medium, and 50%/25% for light. But that is more bookkeeping, which is the last thing D&D needs.
How about armor as Per-Encounter DR that lasts to a certain amount of damage in that encounter, at which point it doesn't mean the armor is *broken*, it just means that you are getting beat up enough that you aren't able to make use of your armor, or the enemy has figured out how to get into the chinks of your armor, and whatnot. The armor itself wouldn't really take damage... it just shows that enemies adapt to fighting you. Or do... something like that.
But the problem is it is fully possible to kill someone without even damaging their armor that badly. If the armor had a bloodied condition it could have three settings, undamaged when it takes 75% of the damage out of the player, damaged it takes 50%, and destroyed it is useless. This is for heavy armor. Then it would be 75%/25% for medium, and 50%/25% for light. But that is more bookkeeping, which is the last thing D&D needs.

Yes it is true, it is more meant to be a simple abstraction like HP. Meant to facilitate fun instead instead of being realistic. It will hurt some peoples verisimilitude in game, others won't mind.
Maybe this'd be getting to complicated but you could have two ACs. Your touch AC and armour AC. Anything that beats your touch AC hits and damages your armour (if you have any) or you (if you don't). Anything that exceeds your Armour AC (which would be higher than in the current rules to balance this) goes straight from AC.
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