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Forum Home > Homebrew Rules Changes > Armor as Soak and Level-based Defense
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Okay.  We all hate that as you gain levels, your character gets smarter and better at attacking, but never improves at getting the hell out of the way of that swinging hammer. What results are item-dependent Christmas Tree Effect characters blinking in thousands of gold worth of gear they can never take off if they hope to be on par with any attackers around them.  Your level 10 character may be able to hit an AC 35, but if ambushed during the night by half-retarded goblins, he may still only have a 13 AC -if- he's highly dexterous.  The system is broken here, and it doesn't make any sense.  Further, the offense-favoring of the mechanics makes most fights end in a ridiculously short amount of time.

Armor as DR

All armor type bonuses, be it base armor, armor enchantment, mage armor spells, count as equal amount Damage Reduction of DR/- .

This is only armor.  Shields, natural, deflection, luck, etc.  all still contribute to the Armor Class, or number to be hit.

Now that that's cleared up, how do you gain a scaling defense bonus that represents training?

Level-based Defense

It is based by class and level.  And call me silly, but it's kinda sensible to follow a similar formula as attack bonus.

Scouts gain full level progression at a 1 for 1 ratio.

Warriors and Socialitess gain 3/4 level progression.

Technicians gain 1/2 level progression.

Numbers for the Nay-Sayers

But what about balance you say?  Waaaaah, the almighty balance!?

Well, this will make lower levels have lower armor class numbers than the normal system.  But they will taper off more smoothly and better represent defensive skill.

As it is, with a tower shield and full plate and 12 dex, a level 2 or 3 that could afford the gear enjoys a 24 Armor Class.  Look around for any level 3 challenge likely hitting a 24 armor class.  Yeah, no. 

Now, with the DR, that level 3 would enjoy likely a 15 armor class, but 9 damage reduction.  While that seems like a heinous amount, remember to do something almost always forgotten (as a necessity of the item-dependent system):  APPLY THE ACTUAL PENALTIES OF THE ARMOR!!!

Full plate takes assistance and a long time to put on.  It fatigues the wearer if he tries to sleep.  It makes it harder to survive weather fortitude checks, weighs 50 lbs, and even if masterworked, takes away 5 from every physical skill check, and lowers travel speed. 

As for the nimble scout type, he might be level 3, with say that 16-18 dex.  His AC to be hit is now higher than the stout warrior, but when he gets hit, he goes down easier.  So 13+3 or 4, a 17 armor class as opposed to a 15 with a shield.  Both of these numbers are reasonable but not easy for a level 3 to be hit.  The difference is that in an ideal scenario where the heavy is allowed to put on his steel tank shell, he can keep fighting.

According to Pathfinder's monster creation site, a high accuracy creature should have an attack bonus of +6, and a lower accuracy but heavier damage should have an attack bonus of +4.  That scales about correctly, and makes the acquisition of those magic items only tip the scales further and further away from being hit, rather than being a necessity to even stay on an even pace. 

As an added benefit, this DR reduces the need of the every round healbot cleric.  And who knows, maybe the 2 round boss fights won't be a majority any longer?  Characters might actually be fighting long enough to get tired.  More on that later.

December 13, 2013 at 4:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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