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Update #29: Fulfillment and the Pros and Cons of Nostalgia and Realism

project eternity update 29 armor fulfillment josh sawyer darren monahan

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#1
The Guildmaster

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Armor Design
Design update from Josh Sawyer



Let's talk about armor design. Taken on its own, armor design isn't of eminent importance. It's just one of many subsystems that make up Project Eternity. However, looking at it in detail can expose problems that can be found across our various subsystems: by making something work well in a new system and setting, we can often put it at odds with the nostalgia of the old games (and "realism").

Back in the days of 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, we had all sorts of quasi- or non-historical armor types like banded mail, ring mail, and studded leather. You wore the heaviest armor you could because it typically had the best Armor Class. If plate mail was available, there weren't many reasons to wear splint mail or (horror of horrors) chain.The default rules limited the viability of certain character concepts because most characters of a given class were funneled down a specific equipment path.

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3E sort of solved this problem by implementing Maximum Dexterity Bonus, which meant that characters with high Dexterity scores would generally equip whatever armor gave them the maximum bonus to Armor Class without capping the Armor Class bonus they received from Dexterity. There were a few problems with this.

First, while it did help make previously "bad" character concepts (e.g., the lightly armored fighter) more viable, generally there were one or two choices per character build. If you had a high dexterity, you were not going to wear heavy armor. If you had a low Dexterity, you might wear light armor, but only for the higher movement rate it allowed.

Second, there was an equipment dead zone in medium armor -- the Maximum Dexterity Bonus caps and movement penalties of heavy armor without the nice Armor Class bonus. Also, if you were a ranger or barbarian, technically you could wear medium armor, but in practice you would never wear it because it disabled several class abilities.

The third issue is a common one with armor design: the ability to wear heavy armor has value (classes receive it as a benefit and it costs feats to purchase in 3E), but it's presented as something with trade-offs. This in itself is not bad, but as previously mentioned, typically the decision of what type of armor to wear can more-or-less be made at the end of character creation. If your character wears a chain shirt at 1st level, there's a good chance he or she will be wearing a +5 version toward the end of the campaign. This is sort of nice because it means that you can have a consistently viable character concept, but there's not a ton of decision making about armor types after your adventuring career starts.

Finally, there's a way of naming and progressing things in A/D&D. Once you get your "base" armors introduced (for our purposes, we will include plate armor and its 2nd Edition kin, field plate and full plate), upgrades are expressed as +1 versions. It becomes pretty easy to understand once the hierarchical relationship and spread of armor types are established.

What does this mean for Project Eternity? It means designing a new armor system that rectifies deficiencies of older systems while maintaining a familiar feel is tricky. Additionally, the more dissimilar the armor relationships are to those found in A/D&D, the more they will be re-evaluated for verisimilitude (i.e. "realism").

We would like our armor system to accomplish the following goals:
  • Make wearing different types of armor a real choice for the player based on both character build and circumstance. E.g. a swashbuckling lightly-armored fighter will tend to wear one of a variety of light armor types (maybe a gambeson or leather cuirass), but in a circumstance where protection is of utmost importance, the player may still choose to wear heavy armor with a loss in build optimization.
  • Disassociate armor value from class type in favor of different build types. E.g. a wizard can wear heavy armor and be a different type of wizard instead of just "a wizard who is bad".
  • Allow a character to maintain a character concept throughout the game without suffering extreme mechanical penalties. E.g. a character who starts the game in some form of light armor can complete the game in some form of light armor with appropriate gameplay trade-offs compared to wearing heavy armor.
  • Introduce new or upgraded armor types throughout the game instead of using ++ versions (which in itself would pose problems unless we directly duplicated A/D&D's d20-based attack mechanics).
Even with these three goals, there are a number of problems to solve. One of the biggest questions is how to break up and "advance" armor by type. In AD&D, you had something that looked like this:

Padded
Leather
Studded Leather
Hide
Scale
Chain
Splint
Plate (Tier 2)
Field Plate (Tier 3)
Full Plate (Tier 4)

Players typically couldn't afford plate, field plate, or full plate at character creation, but everything else was often within reach. It's not uncommon to see a hierarchy of armor types like this in many fantasy games, despite some of the questionable elements (did studded leather exist? Is raw hide armor actually better than cuirbolli leather?). You can get plate/field plate/full plate later in the game, but otherwise, you're getting +x versions of the base types at higher "tiers" of character advancement.

We could (as an example) structure some of Project Eternity's armor advancement like this.

Tier 1
Doublet
Hide Armor
Scale Vest

Tier 2
Gambeson (from Doublet)
Leather Cuirass (from Hide Armor)
Scale Armor (from Scale Vest)
Mail Shirt

Tier 3
Armored Jack (from Gambeson)
Leather Armor (from Leather Cuirass)
Lamellar Armor (from Scale Armor)
Mail Armor (from Mail Shirt)
Half-Plate

This could probably accomplish our stated goals (we can assign them whatever stats we'd like, after all), but it does raise some questions for us:
  • Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version" or does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian?
  • If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"?
  • Is it okay for an upgrade from a visual type of armor to maintain its relative position to other armor types even if "realistically" that upgraded armor is now probably superior in protection to other armor types? E.g. an armored jack or brigandine armor is probably more protective than even nice suit of leather armor... but mechanically, we're presenting it as an upgrade of a padded (doublet) armor type.
These are the sort of things we have been discussing and I have been thinking about. And while it is just one subsystem in Project Eternity, we will likely face many similar considerations as we approach the design of weapons, classes, spells, and other aspects of gameplay. I'm sure a lot of you have opinions on what you'd like to see, so please let us know on our forums!

Our next design update will be in two weeks and will focus on lore and story elements. Thanks for reading!

Fulfillment System
Fulfillment update from Darren Monahan

We’ve received a number of questions via our Support e-mail address and social networks about fulfillment, and I wanted to talk a little bit about what we’re currently working on!

First off, I wanted to announce that we’re developing a fulfillment site, which we’re hoping to have online in the next month or two (I was hoping to have it up sooner, but my first baby is coming into the world in the next few days, eeep!). Everyone who backed the project on Kickstarter and/or PayPal will be e-mailed details that will give you credit on that site. After logging in, you will be able to:
  • Confirm the tier of choice that you wanted. A few of you donated on Kickstarter, and then topped up via PayPal, so you’ll be able to select the exact tier you wanted.
  • Confirm any add-ons you wanted that weren’t easy to specify on Kickstarter or via PayPal.
  • Upgrade your pledge to another tier, or add on for, ummm, add-ons. :)
  • Update your e-mail address at any time.
  • Update your shipping address at any time. (Shipping address only needed for physical goods – we don’t need that info for digital orders.)
  • Indicate any specific details associated with your tier (T-shirt sizes, name in the credits, etc.)
  • If you live outside of the USA, it will also verify that you’ve added enough shipping.
We’ll keep you guys updated in future, ummm, updates, on how progress is coming along!

Here’s an update to our FAQ on some of the questions we’ve been receiving recently:

Q: I donated on PayPal and besides a receipt from PayPal I haven’t gotten confirmation from Obsidian directly.
A: Not a problem. When the fulfillment site goes live, we’ll be merging the Kickstarter and PayPal data together into our own system, and from there we’ll be sending out project updates. For now, as long as you received a PayPal receipt, we’ll have you on file.

Q: I need to change my e-mail address before you send out details on the Fulfillment site. What do I do?
A: Send us an e-mail at support@obsidian.net with your old and new addresses (please e-mail from your old address if you can) and we’ll update our records before the fulfillment site e-mails go out.

Q: How do I add shipping? I missed being able to during the Kickstarter phase!
A: You can handle that in one of several ways:
  • You can hang tight for now and wait until our fulfillment system is online, or,
  • If you’d prefer to get it out of the way, you can visit our Shipping page and add it now (Amazon Payments and PayPal supported.)
Q: When will I get my backer badge on the forums?
A: That’ll come online with the fulfillment system.

If you have any other questions, feel free to visit our forums or drop us a line at support@obsidian.net!

For more news about Project Eternity and Obsidian, follow us on:

Twitter, Facebook, and our YouTube channel
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#2
Malcador

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The pause before 'insight' about things posted on the forums made me laugh.
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#3
Oerwinde

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Congrats on the baby. If you get any now, say goodbye to sleep for the next few years.
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#4
rjshae

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Thank you for the update. :)

Regarding armor, I'd like to see a balancing trade off with the Strength and Dexterity ability scores when it comes to determining how well you can move in combat. A strong, agile person should be able to move about readily in a well-made suit of plate mail. By contrast, a weak yet agile person would be very hindered in the same suit. Hence, these two stats would make each person have their own preferred armor in terms of avoiding attacks and absorbing damage. I think that would produce a greater range in armor usage.

Perhaps give each type of armor a preferred Strength value. The difference between the wearer's strength and the armor's preferred strength is used to determine the maximum Dexterity bonus.

Edited by rjshae, 30 October 2012 - 04:36 PM.

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#5
Rozkurwiciel

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Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version"...?

Yes, but... better materials used for the armor should mean harder experience in repairing it. Barbarian in light armour made of basilisk scales once he gets his armour damaged should be eager to wear his old good leather one which can be reapired much quicker and cheaper and probably at every station unlike teh fancy basilisk one.

If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"?

I expect you guys to create something a little bit more ambiotious than mere system of adding 'ones to ones in order to get twos' if you know what I mean ;) .

Is it okay for an upgrade from a visual type of armor to maintain its relative position to other armor types even if "realistically" that upgraded armor is now probably superior in protection to other armor types? E.g. an armored jack or brigandine armor is probably more protective than even nice suit of leather armor... but mechanically, we're presenting it as an upgrade of a padded (doublet) armor type.

In order to keep both balance and realism you guys should definitelly redifine the system of protection given by leather-made armors. What I mean is... if the armor is light and occupies the slot of pretty high tier it should give still smaller dmg protection than low tier plated armor but should definitely grant some extra buffs that come into the game with the type of armour. Mobility and unhampered dexterity is not enough... imbued combat skills involving fast movement and rampant havoc caused in the blink of eye is an option. Explaining it a little more, how do I imagine this sort of thing is: we have some ability of Cleave which basicilly means smashing in an arch in front of the character. While wearing super heavy armor you can't really move that fast and you will get one strong smash, nothing else, if the enemies are out of the range of the weapon you can't do anything and you miss the target. At the same level guy in the leather armor is able to reach an enemy with a single fast-paced step and thus gets longer range of melee weapon. As a different example we can imagine swirling faster in a Whirlwind or avoiding stumbling or even moving faster towards the desired direction while doing so (wearing the leather coat instead of plate armour).

Pleased to help

Edited by Rozkurwiciel, 30 October 2012 - 04:33 PM.

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#6
Infinitron

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Good update. Let me just say how refreshing it is to see a game developer who really takes mechanics in an RPG seriously, and not as something that is subordinate to story or immersion or "player freedom" or whatever.

It makes me sad that we couldn't have had this game 5 or more years ago. It's been a bad decade for RPG design.

Edited by Infinitron, 30 October 2012 - 04:37 PM.

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#7
MaximKat

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An obvious idea is to have light armor with better evasion stats and heavy armor with better damage absorption stats. The problem is to balance both properly, otherwise you'll have the same problem as in DAO, where a DEX tank was almost always better than a VIT tank.
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#8
Ieo

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Love the thought that goes into the earlier design stages.... I suspect this will be the juiciest stuff. Then the actual development, well--grunt work, lots of minutiae and technical stuff, not necessarily worth actually telling people about that. I have to wonder what the updates will look like after this brainstormy design time.

Also: Throwing in obligatory whine for more art in original Sagani painted concept pic. :thumbsup:


P.S.: Great face paint LOL

Edited by Ieo, 30 October 2012 - 04:43 PM.


#9
Gorth

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I love that Bayeux tapestry :lol:
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#10
ImRhoven

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Good update! I have a lot of thoughts on armor mechanics in RPG's, since it's one of the things that often bothers me in games. I'll get them written out at a time I'm not falling asleep at the keyboard! G'night all!

#11
Luridis

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Congratulations on the baby Darren! :grin:

My thoughts on Armor...

First, I love the idea of "Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet"". Why? Because I like to look! I don't want it to always be a no-brainer which armor is better. I want to actually stop and look at stats. By the way, can you do away with color coding of rarity too? That also makes it a no brainer, "I got purpz dude". I hate everything being reduced to paint-by-numbers in MMO's these days.

As far as grades and bonuses, one of the things I've considered is: How light would armor need to be in order to make both dodge and parry easier. Wearing something light, but stiff might make parry more difficult due to the reduction in hand speed. Where as, something light and soft would make both dodge and parry easier. In either case, the guy holding a claymore doesn't care much about either; because he only needs to hit you once.

Variance in mechanic for the same overall benefit is what my thinking boils down to. What if there are several types of the same armor? Some that provide maximum protection with the heaviest penalties. Others that have a similar DR-type value but differing values in other areas. For instance: A chain shirt with leather sleeves and a long tail provides hypothetically 30% DR, but has -15% dodge and -5% parry. But you could also get a different chain shirt that is waist length with full chain sleeves that provides the same 30% DR, but has the drawbacks reversed, -5% dodge and -15% parry. Finally, there's a full Monty version of the chain that gives 35% DR and a penalty of -15% for both dodge and parry. The numbers there are entirely for the sake of example, but ya'll get what I'm saying. This gives players a chance at a little more benefit if they study their class and play-style and match the variants to fit that, as opposed to just picking up an item only if it's numerically superior to what you have. Even more interesting is if the player could use a trade skill to make modifications like those above.

Ultimately, I'm sure whatever you guys come up with will be great. We're just hear to be a sounding board while you sort it all out. ;)

Edited by Luridis, 30 October 2012 - 05:15 PM.

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#12
Arkeus

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Here are my thoughts, which are slightly different.

Instead of having, say, Leather Cuirass be inherently better than Hide Armor, have each of the different type 'take' better to certain types of enchantments. So if you are looking for enchantment having to do with darkness and dexterity, leather armor is good, but Hide armor does better enchantment when it comes to animistic power, and so on.

It could even be reflected by the armor responding better to direct active soul powers, like 'hide armor gives a 10% bonus if the character use a soul power that is centered around duplicating the power the animal from the hide comes from.'.
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#13
Chocrates

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I would like to throw in my two cents about armour.
I do renaissance fencing, and the techniques vary a lot based on the protection the oponent is wearing, so I would like to give a relative breakdown of how effective those are (may not be news to you guys, but blew my mind after playing dnd for years).

A quilted gambeson is effective against some sword chopping blows, it would take a decently powerful strike with a sharp part of the blade to penetrate, or a thrust.

Maille would protect the user from chopping attacks until the maille fractured, and the wearer would take the blunt force damage from the blade if the maille didn't fracture.

Plate harness was essentially invulnerable to all but pole arms and projectiles. Poleaxes (smallish polearms) would be able to deal blunt trauma to the wearer, but if the attacker had a sword they would have to resort to finding seems in the armour to get through.


Not sure if that is any help to the predicament, but the idea of destructible armour or armour that you just can't get through without changing your tactics is really intriguing to me.

I also really like the idea of armour becoming obsolete. If you can afford some boiled leather vs raw hide, then nothing would be stopping you!
It might add an interesting economic effect to the game, you find some barbarians that can't afford to trade for good armour, or some militia that can only quilt their own gambeson's etc.

Edited by Chocrates, 30 October 2012 - 04:49 PM.

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#14
Gorth

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If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"?

I expect you guys to create something a little bit more ambiotious than mere system of adding 'ones to ones in order to get twos' if you know what I mean ;) .

At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, I would love the initial types to remain viable. Please, no silly +1 modifiers. I liked the 'Quality Longsword' etc. from IWD. Besides quality of craftmanship, make material a factor? I.e. if my barbarian starts out wearing elf-hide armour, he might later be able to upgrade/replace it with troll-hide armour which has some self-repairing qualities (or whatever, just making up silly examples). It's still visually and functionally a hide armour.
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#15
Dashtego

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Damn, for some reason only part of my post was saved.

To sum up the first half briefly: I dislike the "+1" system since it felt arbitrary. Having a more nuanced material system and various sub-categories therein makes a lot more sense. So, for example, you have deer hide, bear hide, dire wolf hide etc. Each hide type is different in some way - you could have some that are slightly heavier, others that are more pliant, and so on. Armor should also be modifable - if I want to add a light sheet of chain links beneath my hide, I should be able to do that with the requisite skill or at the appropriate shop. That would make the hide sturider and have a better AC without jumping completely up to the next tier of armor, only sacrificing some of the beneifts of light armor in the process. There should also be a socketing/enchating system. Gems were largely useles in a lot of the old IE games. It would be cool if socketed armor utilized gems in interesting ways, or if armor could be enhance through magic. That way, light armor could be greatly improved over time but the character could still maintain the desired aesthetic appearance and still have an armor type appropriate to his abilities and strengths. It's easy to let armor get ridiculously amped up with this kind of system, so some kind of strict enchantment cap, or a system wherein enchantments are temporary or socketed gems are breakable, would be a possible solution.

Heavier armor should negatively effect movement speed, agility, and sneaking/pickpocketing/back stabbing. Having a thief skulking around in heavy plate makes no sense. The benefits of light armor need to be tangible, however. You should be proportionally more likely to avoid being hit when wearing light armor as you would be able to absorb a hit in heavy armor. In heavy armor, you get hit more often but take less damage. In light armor, hits hurt a lot more but you're able to dodge out of the way more often and flee from immediate danger more easily. It would make sense for thieves, archers, and non-fighter mages to be in lighter armor so they could do their thing (sneaking around, running around and peppering enemies with arrows/spells etc.) much more easily. This, along with my thoughts on armor materials, also speaks to the issue of the "mid-level armor" conundrum. A ranger wouldn't have to give up his ultra-light hides that don't protect at all against the attacks of upper-level creatures in favor of cumbersome heavy armor, because he could improve his hides with metals, gems, charms, etc, or even take the hides of the increasingly powerful creatures he encounters to make better and better hide armor.

.

Edited by Dashtego, 30 October 2012 - 05:08 PM.

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#16
nikolokolus

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That update just makes me want to think... and think. And not write...

Damn you Sawyer.

#17
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In New Vegas, I had good excuses and even perks that made my use of lighter armors more sensible in certain situations. I didn't need to have any '+1' non-sense. Of course, something like riot gear could become 'elite' riot gear, and that extra descriptive *must* reflect in the game, but otherwise I could just pick up the armor and look at how it bumped up my stats. If you're that transparent, then it should never be difficult for a player to know which armor is better for which situation. It will undoubtedly be difficult sometimes to decide which stats are more important or which abilities the player wants to augment and which abilities he wants to preserve.

In terms of realism vs nostalgia, I think the big winner should always be vision and fun. I don't care if it's entirely supported by historical precedent (although 'verisimilitude' is always vital), and I don't care about nostalgia in terms of the armor and weapons at all, but I do want it all to be sensible and add to the game. What I don't want are ridiculously oversized swords or insane looking armor that the wearer should be required to make a saving throw every time he dons it to make sure he didn't castrate himself in the process.

Nice update, though. Mostly, though I take it as a good sign that you're getting down to the nitty gritty and clearly you're a hell of a lot more intelligent than me, so I'll trust you to sort it. Grats on the kid, Mr. Monahan.

EDIT: I was just thinking, maybe there should be a time when 'elite' riot gear isn't as good as regular riot gear. I think descriptives *must* make sense, but I guess not always in every way you'd expect. There's never any other hard fast rule that works, is there? :Cant's sheepish grin icon:

Edited by Cantousent, 30 October 2012 - 05:01 PM.


#18
Zombra

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All I will say is this: all else being equal, it would be weird if a lightly armored guy was as survivable as a heavily armored guy. I expect tradeoffs for heavy armor, such as mobility, but sheer tough-to-killness should always go to the guy who invests in the maximum amount of metal between him and swords.
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#19
Tyrheon

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I have actually spent a lot of time pondering armor and how it would best be mechanized in a game, because no D&D system ever satisfied me for the very reasons you stated, and I'm IMMENSELY relieved you're giving this a lot of thought, and not goofy thought, like which sounds gnarliest.

1st. On names of armor tiers, how to name upgrades of armor

Don't be 4th edition. Heavens Murgatroyd do not name any base armor type anything but something generic. Lord save us from Feyhide, Elderhide, and Godplate. Those don't mean anything! I know you weren't suggesting it but please not "Dragon Scale" slipping into a tier. I just wanted to say it so someone would. Again, I have no mind that you would do such a thing, but it's worth the plea. These sorts of things should be unique items, not things your local smith is cooking up in the back room. As far as upgraded names of things, on that note, I would honestly mix and match descrptive things like "fine", +1, and named, because in a world so vast they probably really DO have different names, and it's pretty retro to be wild like that and therefore awesome ;). Some may even be redundant and just look differnet; who cares? It adds character. Again though, named things SHOULD NOT become whole classes of armor, just subclasses or unique items.

2nd. On the use of tiers

About tiers, and about your barbarian in hide. The problem is, if you want a barbarian in hide to be a viable option throughout you would have to get rid of tiers -- and in fact, if you don't want things to surpass things AT ALL you're not going to want tiers. Tiers in their very nature stratify armor in such a way that the top tier is the best. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as realistically that's why we don't have barbarians in rags anymore. Still, it's romantic. So what is my suggestion? Cut tiers, and make certain builds of certain classes compatible with certain things. For instance, a druid barbarian may be inclined to said hide, as it behooves his magic somehow in its close assication to nature. At the same time, this same build might choose something with more armor just for the armor's sake. Armor bonus is a good thing unto itself. You then might have a more warrior barbarian with heavy armor who is SIGNIFICANTLY hurt in his reflex saves, swimming, etc., and even SPEED (it would frustrate people but it would be realistic and incentive to wear lighter armor or increase a speed stat), but who obviously is well protected and can take more damage. In this way I agree with what you said, and I think it makes sense as long as its balanced: players can wear whatever armor they want, and each armor has concrete benefits and drawbacks. Just makes sure not to have the overpowered mage-warrior or something! The last thing I want is people beating the system by finding wonkily mismatched builds but kicking tail; also make sure we don't get what I call "Neverwinter Nights Dual-Wielding Ranger Syndrome," where your dual-wielding ranger can't beat the zombies in the prison and has to play something more powerful. Anything being any significantly better or worse defeats the whole purpose of cutting tiers. You'd have tiers anyway, just not visible ones. Plus it would incentivize people to keep MULTIPLE sets of armor, like real warriors, and have to change them out depending on the situation. It doesn't mean you HAVE to switch out, and it likely won't ruin your game if you don't, but changing armor may be just like casting the right spell: the right thing to do to overcome your enemy or properly traverse that piece of tricky terrain.

Edited by Tyrheon, 30 October 2012 - 05:08 PM.

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FrostPaw

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On the subject of Armour, wearing a set type and gaining a benefit from it even if wearing another type might be more protective.....

How about a progressive bonus applied to continuing in a certain armor type which is not as protective? Example you begin the game in a leather vest, as you adventure and fight over time you become more comfortable and experienced within that armor type and so your armor synergy goes up, enabling you to benefit more from wearing it.

Instead of finding armor that is more protective you find armor that looks different, you would swap out armor based on which look you wanted but it's wearing it and the experience gained while wearing it that contributed to how effective it was. A sort of experience level for armour I suppose.

How do you separate plate from leather or chain then? Perhaps the answer is in the speed of stamina reduction, combat in heavier armor will reduce your stamina faster but will negate more of the damage, where as combat in lighter armor will allow you to fight for longer but you will likely sustain more damage as the battle progresses. Your mobility might counter some of this but even the fittest fighter in plate can't last as long as the fittest fighter in leather.

So wouldn't that create a sweet spot of middle tier armor? Yes it would, unless you assume each type or class of armor has a cap on how much you can benefit from it. For example while you can get better and more experienced with chain the best most experienced chain wearer can never attain the same level of protection that wearing plate would allow, however swapping to plate would not be better until you first gained experience in wearing and fighting in it. Thus while there is incentive to stick with the armour type you went for at creation, with some perseverance you could switch to a different armor type.

So if there is a cap, plate would be the best protection eventually, what you need to look at are reasons why wearing plate might be a bad idea, such as stamina, mobility carry weight, your appearance if you're trying to be diplomatic or seductive, your ability to swim/float, maintenance, climbing etc.

Personally, I like armor restrictions, I don't like the idea of everyone in plate, it may be cool to have choices but sometimes it's the restrictions that make your choices matter. Characters are characters to me because of how they own their drawbacks and overcome them in alternate ways.
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