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

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Adding to my previous post, the "material tier" system would work for all armor types. Having a variety of metals would be cool. Having regionally/geographically/culturally unique armor would be great, would incentive travel and exploration, and would just make a lot of sense. What would be REALLY cool is having levels of blacksmiths. Maybe there are two or three really famous blacksmiths, 8 or so pretty famous ones, a dozen regionally renowned ones, and then a bunch of averages ones (those particular numbers are arbitrary, of course). It would be assumed that blacksmiths were making most of their own wares (which makes sense) and the more famous the blacksmith, the better his armor and weapons would be. Of course, they would also be a heck of a lot more expensive. If the most famous blacksmith of all is named Peter, you could buy "Peter's Platemail," which would be lighter, stronger, maybe have some special featues, be more durable, etc. It would also cost a fortune. Players would hear about blacksmiths of varyng talents from NPCs, and having a suit of armor or a sword from one or another famous blacksmith would make people think more highly of you (thanks to some kind of quantifiable positive reaction modifier, or charisma enhancement). Players would have to choose between dropping a ton of gold on a really amazing piece of armor, or spending less on a less well crafted piece. Of course, excellent armor could still be found as loot (and maybe some of the special loot could have been crafted by the ancestors of the really famous blacksmiths in the game - this would make the world that much more believable)

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Here are some quick thoughts about armour, or rather on the weight/protection part of it. Most of it will probably sound obvious though^^.

 

As noted above, taking the weight and overall body coverage of armours might help you a long way in defining a solid system. Allowing all kind of characters to wear pretty much wathever type of armour is not a bad thing, but the advantages and disadvantages of a specific type of armour for a specific character build should still be present. A weak but agile warrior should not want to wear heavy plate unless some very good reasons. A strong warrior should want to wear plate unless having to sprint or swim or whatever good reason to not have 50kg of metal on your back.

That's pretty obvious stuff, but on that basis, it might be interesting to make the character's ability to move and fight differ a bit. For example, the same warrior wouldn't move nor fight in the same way wearing leather or plate, whatever his strenght is. Gameplay wise, this could be rendered not only as slower execution speed, but also access/advantages to special moves (quick strikes in leather, heavy ones while being kind of reckless but ok thanks to the plates)... I have been practicing Japanese swordmanship (not kendô, the real stuff :p) for 10 years, and the techniques vary a lot wether they were meant to be executed wearing armour like during the battles of the Warring States, or without like during the Edo period. The former are more wide moves and big strikes, the latter, more close combat style with small and souple moves.

Another interesting point would be to make the critical strike rate change depending on the type of coverage an armour gives, plate being close to 100% and leather to 50%. It should be more difficult to strike someone critically when he's mostly covered in armour, without having 100% protection of course (plate having weaknesses at the articulations...which are the spots aimed by the techniques against armour in my sword school).

 

To sum it up: weight influencing movement and techniques - armour types influencing critical rates. Those are my two cents.

Edited by doshu
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Regarding armor design... thinking about this, I realize that my favorite upgrade system is very simplistic... that used in the early FF games... Cloth, to Leather, to Iron, the Steel, to Platinum (or Mithril, whatever ;) )... etc. The reason being because I was going through a perceived progression of increasing quality.

 

But for use in PE, what about a technological basis for upgrades? That is to say... one thing not covered in D&D or even really any of this type of RPG at all is modern synthetic materials... the advancement of armor tech usually STOPS at plate, which, while not necessarily bad, limits a bit of what you can do.

 

Cultural modifiers get wordy and aren't meaningful to the player. I see "redskin jersey" and unless I know who the Red Skins are, I'm not really feeling it. Even if I DO know them, if I have no tie to their craftsmanship or cultural symbolism, it's still meaningless, and if I have to read through loads of lore to get there, well, then I should have bought the book instead.

 

However, if you follow a technological progression, you get something like this:

 

Light Armors:

 

Loincloth - ancient era

Cloth Vest - pre-Dark Ages

Robe (soothsayers, priests, "mages") - Dark Ages

Ballistic Vest (or simply "Light Body Armor") - Protects against bullets, moderate protection against handheld weapons, relatively very light (about the weight of a backpack, if that. Lighter than almost all historical leather armor types)

Synthetic Fiber Suit - Modern era, high-tech materials enable a variety of amazing feats in fabric as light as cotton: from weaving nearly invisible chain through nearly invisible layers of kevlar and ballistic nylon to achieve a thoroughly cut-resistant result, to weaving in Dyneema for an extreme resistance to heat... variations on this theme allow for a huge array of options for light armor users to upgrade. You just pick your fiber mix for the result wanted.

 

Middle Armors:

 

Leather Hide - or Leather Strips

Leather Skirted Coat (Greco-Roman Empire)

Chain-Leather Vest (commonly known as chainmail, was often far lighter than plate and I always found it misplaced in heavy armor, especially since many historical accounts speak of chain mail as actually being leather with chain rings threaded through. True chain coats are a more modern concept.

Breast Plate - Full Plate was discarded between the 16th and 18th centuries in favor of lighter weight armor. Lighter drops it to the med category as an option.

Steel Vest - As weaponry advanced, plate became less effective. Protection was less important than speed (but AC is an indication of how hard you are to hit, so improved speed with similar protection results in lower AC... however you want to do that mechanically, I think it still holds consistent.)

Kevlar - Modern Ages - stops bullets (or "interferes with magic" as well as crossbow and knife attacks)

Advanced Composite Armor - Modern era, there are several variations including the US Interceptor Body Armor, the Dragon Skin Body Armor, and others...

 

 

Heavy Armors:

 

Mammoth Tusk Armor - or simply Bone Armor - ancient era

Scale Mail or Hauberk or Cuirass - pre- and post- Dark Ages

Iron Plate Mail (skipping scalemail because chain and scale were often tradeoffs with different strengths, this has been reflected in some D&D games and could be used) - Early Medieval Era

Forged Steel Plate - Later Medieval Era

Full Plate - Later on during the same era, just greater coverage, and continued post-renaissance along with steel plate

Spectra (or whatever name you choose) - Modern era, heavy modern synthetic materials provide maximum ballistic protection as well as heavy resistance in hand-to-hand combat

 

 

Obviously you could go more advanced. I know that many worlds (Forgotten Realms) are in a medieval setting which makes the top items on the list impractical in some respects, but nothing says you have to name it exactly by modern names. "Kevlar" becomes "Dragon Skin". .. etc. There's plenty of naming options to play with. "Balrog Skin" can be better than Dragon Skin, "Demon Skin" can be stronger than Balrog Skin, "Planar Armor" can be better still....... etc. You did a lot with this kind of thing in Planescape: Torment. Riff on that ;)

 

 

Okay one last SHORT small thing: One major niggle I Have about all RPGs (Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale among them) is when I clear out an area (lets say, of bandits) and they have the EXACT SAME INVENTORY! It's terrible, Really. I don't want to pick up 40 UNSTACKABLE silver rings from 40 guys, especially if they don't have some kind of gang insignia on them explaining why all 40 had the same loot, same weapon, same range of gold drop, same armor, with only 1-2 minor variations between them if any! No, it's terrible. I'd suggest something like this, though that might be going too far in the other direction with a bunch of useless items. Having a better range of options for loot drops is important, though! At the very very least, if you're going to make me pick up 40 silver rings, PLEASE make them stackable! I understand why plate mail can't be, but just like keys, can't I put all the rings on a chain or something! Please!? Having a carry capacity of 400 lbs on my main character, and having him get full because he's holding 20 silver rings and a scroll book is just embarrassing.

 

Thanks for reading.

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I'm actually a fan of early CRPG methods of describing advancement of materials. Like Iron > Steel > Mithril > Adamantine > Crystal. While it's really just +x to the armor type, IMO it's a better system.

 

I'm not a fan of the ARPG system of Cracked/Shoddy > normal > Masterwork, it doesn't really feel "Rare" to me. Theoretically, that those types really shouldn't be all that uncommon in a world.

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Just an idea but why not have the different areas of the game have different skills in blacksmithing. Then instead of +1 we could have leather armor made by the smithy in city X which has spent years reaching the pinnacle of leather working technology but in city y is a smithy who makes the greatest plate mail. Could even name the armors for regions or by specific smiths as armor levels. Trade exists so I'm sure these armors could appear out of their region/area in some circumstances.

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Rather than generic terms like "+1", how about quality, material, or property modifiers?

 

Cloth: Padded -> Reinforced Cloth -> Brigandine -> Reinforced Spidersilk

Hide: Bullhide -> rhinohide -> -> -> dragonhide

Leather: Tanned Leather -> Boiled Leather -> -> -> Gryphon Leather

Chain: Ring Mail -> Chain Mail -> -> -> Elven Chain

Banded: Scale -> Splint -> Lamellar -> -> -> Dwarven Lorica

Plate: Plated Mail -> Half Plate -> Full Plate -> -> -> Articulated Plate

 

With modifiers based on craftsmanship, enchantment, coverage, etc.

"Fine", "Masterwork", "Muffled", "Reflexive", "Fire Eater", "Sanctified", "Shirt"/"Cuirass", "Hauberk", "Haubergon", "Suit", etc.

 

As to making certain armor types preferable to certain classes, or multi-class builds (if those become an option) here are some possibilities:

Armor skills, either trainable or autogrant, improving a certain type of armor based on class levels.

Armor specializations: Broad - Light Armor, Narrow - Cloth Armor, Focused - Brigandines

(Rogue gains light armor at level 1, improves at 3, broadly specializes at 5, improves at 7, narrowly specializes at 9, improves at 11, focuses at 13, improves focus at 15 (stretch or compress based on max levels)

(Fighter gain armor of choice at 1, improve at 2, gain second armor choice at 3, etc.)

 

Or, each armor type has strengths and weaknesses, heavier armors offer more protection, and reduce speed, or are noisier, or have some other drawback.

 

If the goal is to make each character use multiple types of armor based on the situation, inherent bonuses and drawbacks shouldn't effectively cap stat contributions, but might offer other intrinsic tradeoffs.

Edited by Zephyrous

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Similar to cost of repairs mentioned earlier, higher-quality and more-advanced armor types would require more complex and/or expensive maintenance. Metal armor in particular most likely need the services of an armorer or for the character to have similar specialized skills. Enchantments add even more difficulty, with the character possibly needing at least some familiarity with magic to maintain and repair such armor without permanently damaging it.

 

Padded cloth and hide armor require little maintenance and are easy to repair with readily-available materials. They're basically little more complicated than ordinary clothing and nearly as readily-available.

 

At the other extreme, an exceptionally-well-made, highly-enchanted suit of plate armor custom-fit to its wearer would be staggeringly expensive to purchase in the first place, and then require the services of skilled artisans familiar with its construction, materials, and enchantments. Only nobility or legendary heroes could afford the extravagant upkeep for such a suit of armor, making it Awesome But Impractical.

 

I based this on how the game Transcendence handles ship armor. More advanced armors are more expensive to buy, of course, but also more expensive to repair when they get damaged and require more advanced repair facilities. Particularly high-technology armors can only be repaired by the transhuman races, requiring special currency that is hard to get. Automatic repair devices start having trouble with higher-tech armor, too, and start working slower on them. The most advanced armor in the game (looted from the final boss) can't be repaired by anyone, and auto-repair can fix it only slowly. It does, however, have far and away the highest armor rating in the game and is highly resistant to all but the highest-technology weapons so it's debatably worthwhile. :)

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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 think mix of different naming types could be best way to approach this subject.

 

Hide armours for example could be named after animal/s which lose their hide in making of the said armour, for example there could be wolf hide, boar hide and bear hide armours and this character same protection as what those animals have in the game. And viable hide armour could come from exotic beast like yeti. But I don't see any bad in that if wrought leather armour is better in end game than armour which is stich from hide without additional protective prosessing. If style will cost in protectiveness, then it will cost.

 

But when it comes to naming wrought armours, in my opinon cultural naming is nice way to do that. Common versions of the armours should have common name, as most of the armourers can do them, but if armour uses special wrought technique, for example similar what was used in Damascus steel weapons, armour should have cultural name that tells orgin place of technique, or where traders buy most of the stuff that is made by using that technique (case of Damascus steel). Or name could came from art styles what are used in armour, like gothic plate. I like cultural names for things because they give setting more life and make armours and weapons sound unique from other systems.

 

And one thing which I like lot is that if it is difficult to say for sure which of the armours is best as they all have things where they excel but they also have things where they don't have such fine performance.

Edited by Elerond
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I have no idea where to even begin solving this problem, but I'm glad to see it's being analyzed in such depth and with such great care, and it's making me confident and excited about this game.

 

One thing I want to say though is that making lots of options viable and subtly different is not necessarily good. 2nd AD&D was incredibly restrictive in what players could wear and use, yet somehow the best RPGs ever were made with it. The simplicity of the combat system allowed greater focus to, I guess, the spell system, which was incredibly varied and deep.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that depth isn't something absolutely, inherently good, sometimes a more shallow system can be better. Personally I found 3rd edition D&D to present me with way too many options and couldn't be bothered to figure out what the best build was myself, I'd always use pre-defined builds made by people with, from my pov, too much time on their hands. That wasn't fun.

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Some materials (let's take the troll hide as the example) should not be able to increase in the tier system. That way you can only have troll hide armor, but not troll leather armor. It makes for an interesting option for the player: should my barbarian wear the troll hide armor or should I move him up to a higher tier leather armor but of poorer quality animal skin?


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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.

 

You need to shout a bit louder, I don't think GW can hear you over in Nottingham :grin:

 

I'm probably an oddity, because I don't really like a lot of loot in my games. I would love just for once to play a game where finding enough funds to upgrade my rusty shortsword to a shiny new longsword (with a pommel gem!) felt like something worth celebrating at the local tavern. Same thing for armours. Rather than an overabundance of types and making it hard to chose what to wear (that sounded all wrong?), let me refine and customize what I wear. Nice chainmail. Maybe add a bit of padding, some pauldrons and a fire retardant paint job? It's still my favourite old chainmail which I named after taking it off some baddies dead body and adjusted the length.

 

I very very very much like the idea of customizable / upgradable armor. I'm thinking a pseudo-mechwarrior build option then, you have your "leather armor" and you can ADD studs to it, ADD shoulder padding (makes it quieter, so thieves have access to it), ADD a featherweight modification (for mages, minimizes spellcasting inhibition.) Also being able to find other armors (as death drops) and seeing how they're modded (with a skill roll?) to determine whether you can modify your own armor to work that way yourself or not, or if you have to take it to a master... I can see a whole world of possibility there, sticking with only 3 armor types and making it an almost pure upgrade system...

 

 

It would be incredibly unique, and you could do just about anything with it, AND create the right kinds of upgrades to make armor of all weights accessible to all classes, with various options for mitigating penalties and adding value... I always like feeling like I'm getting just a little bit extra out of my gear, so maybe have a "soft limit" to the amount of upgrades, and then build in rare and/or difficult ways to bypass that limit to gain an advantage (something significant, but not game breaking... ie if upgrades usually carry a penalty of some sort, let met find a way to counteract that penalty and get an extra upgrade... something)

 

I really really like this idea. Do it! (it also makes death drops a whole lot more interesting, especially if there's a randomness factor to the upgrades they can contain)

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In a game I DM'd recently (AD&D 3E), I did away with AC and split defensive scores into two categories:

 

Evasion/Deflection: Affected the character's ability to avoid being hit altogether, opposed by adversary's attack roll. Heavier armors severely reduced this ability. Lightly armored characters we also able to react more quickly and roll with attacks, reducing the chance of critical hits.

 

Absorption/Reduction: Affected the character's ability to shrug off damage, opposed by adversary's damage roll. Heavier armors were more effective at reducing the damage taken.

 

There were some associated skills as well, but what it boiled down to was creating two combat phases for every attack, and involving the defensive player more. For each attack, phase 1 was the to-hit roll checked against an attempted counter-roll, using the defender's evasion score. If the attack hit, the damage roll would be countered by a reduction roll (essentially the efective damage reduction was the % difference between the rolls).

 

It ended up balancing out pretty well... lightly armored characters were able to do a better job of not getting hit, while heavily armored characters were able to take boatloads of damage. Sort of an unintended but happy side effect was that medium armor became the preferred happy-medium instead of the bastard middle-child nobody likes.

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I really like the idea of perks that tie into the armor your character wears. I think this is a good direction. (And I liked it in FONV.)

 

You could have perks for fighters that let them better utilize heavy armor, move faster, less stamina drain, while also giving the light armor bonuses to attack speed or movement when wearing light armor. I think heavy armor should definitely offer better mitigation as a baseline, but with the right perks, a light armored character could become just as resistant, or more proficient at dealing damage/performing more actions, depending on the direction you go with your perks.

 

Um, I just really like perks, I guess.

 

I have no problem with armor types being replaced with "better" versions. And I'd be fine with simply incorporating new interesting names for better tiers. It's really not a problem to me. It lends itself to the feeling of progression, and so long as a certain type of armor remains effective (through perks, stats, overall look) then I think the classic hide wearing barbarian can survive until the end of the game.

 

I also agree with what was said before, having benefits/down-sides to armor types beyond damage mitigation could be interesting.

 

This is all just stuff that I find appealing in games I've played in the past. Finding a resolution to this problem is beyond me. (I'm sure you'll figure it out, lol)

 

Cool face paint.

Edited by Ignatius

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I find alot of this armor stuff interesting but I am curious about the specifics. How exactly will armor work? Dr, Ac, etc.. What will item enchantment be like? If +1 is gone, what are we left with?

 

As for the questions, I think it is supremely important to support many different character concepts. However, I would caution against the idea of designing a game around armor switching. That does not seem right. My Rogue should not be carrying a bunch of Plate in his pack just in case. You should be able to stick to an armor type from start to finish.

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First' I'd suggest making a list of categories of the same material, therefore giving the sense of improved protection/quality to a same type of armor. Let's say you have a Bear Leather Armor, sounds nice, right? What about a Griffon leather Armor? Sounds much better! You could create a list of materials/metals that change the stats for each item.

Otherwise, you could also add a description, like Iron Plated Leather Armor, Reinforced Scale Mail or something of the sorts.Even Blessed Mail could fit with your lore I assume, wherever there are meddling deities, there are enchanted/blessed items.

As someone mentioned before, cultural armor would be important, as different cultures figh in different ways, say a culture that upholds honor, would probably reinforce the front of the armor and leave the backside exposed, giving it no consideration, while a "sneaky" culture, would do the opposite.

If you are planning on doing different protection for different body parts, then that could help with what I stated before, additionally, as a player you might reinforce your armor on certain parts, depending on how you fight.

Something else that I would like to add, although probably not many people will like it - how come every store owner has my *exact* size of armor? If we're talking about a ravaged world, armor should be something expensive that you either craft yourself, or is tailored to your size.

Edited by pintoyac
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No sleep for me today.

 

Make wearing different types of armor a real choice for the player based on both character build and circumstance.

This is good stuff. I always search for circusmtantial bonuses or penalties for characters wearing specific equipment in my games. I know we won't have Josh DMing us online when we'll send our fighters clad in full plate to fight few ice trolls on a ice lake, but maybe some maps or dungeons would reward player for choosing more appropriate armor, even if it does't suit his/her aesthetic or roleplaying taste.

 

. E.g. a wizard can wear heavy armor and be a different type of wizard instead of just "a wizard who is bad".

I like wizards in robes, because I like the concept of having badly defended artillery unit in tactical games. A unit which is inexchangeable in terms of firepower and/or utility but has to be defended brings tactical depth.

 

Allow a character to maintain a character concept throughout the game without suffering extreme mechanical penalties.

I also like when you have to scrap every gold piece to finally afford Full Plate and feel good about it. But, anyway, I'm sure there should be ways to create different fighters, but what I really do not want to see is balancing this stuff out using just AC/Armour and DPS values. I don't think about XTREME, but I'm pretty sure that lightly armored fighter should take other role than heavely armoured, maybe he would have higher speed and could use skirmising tactics, maybe he'll be better at avoiding area spells.

 

Character concept should be challenged. What was effective at one encounter, should't be effective all game. Maybe our guy with rapier wearing gambeson would switch to bow later in game when he'd find enemies who make too many strong attacks. Or maybe he'd have to dabble a bit into sneak attacking. But he'd still be cool when you need to instantly stab someone lightly armored and fast.

 

Now, to step away from update a little

 

Yes, but... better materials used for the armor should mean harder experience in repairing it.

I agree. Also, it could be about traveling speed, encumbrance and stamina. In Fallout New Vegas, I liked that add-on where I had to exchange my power armour for light leather armour to travel into addon. And, I often liked to travel just in leather armor to run faster and to spend less money. The same reason I often used simple hunting rifle as a backup weapon instead of Anti Material rifle. But, how do you implement that survival spirit into party rpg?

 

kay let's get back to update

 

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

That's how it is. You slap more leather or lighter materials, and it becomes better. You could still probably increase weight, add repair cost and make character move slower in it, even if it's padded tunic vs. gambeson stuffed with oakum which is heavy like ****.

 

does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian?

Yes, but it does't have to completely. Even full plate could be made looking barbaric. Every culture had it's own way of making things look distinct. A barbarian still could wear a wolf pelt atop his mail, a scary steel mask instead of regular helmet, he could add amulets and trinckets, ect. I'm not talking about Diablo 2 here, where everything miracuosly suits any character, be it large barbarian or gentle sorceress, but armor looks and customisation should not affect design decisions in that way, imo.

 

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"?

Everything could work. Cultural-like could be used to great effect to enhance lore of the game. I once had a "Imperial Leather" in game which was based on those fancy larpy roman leather armors with muscular features and golden trinckets and such, and that armor was mostly worn by elite battle group from that empire. So when players saw somebody in it or got their hands on it their were like "Oohh it's imperial ****, and we know everything made in there is good, ooh that guy must be tough son of a bitch".

 

Now, +1 or +2, I always prefer to avoid it in item descriptions if stuff is magical. Why? Because it's magical stuff. Magical stuff should live a bit more mysterius life than career ladder from +1 to +5. It's okay to hint a rule about it in technical discription ("This sword concidered +3 on wounding immune to non magical weapons creatures"), but just "This is Magical sword +1... noone knows where it was made, just +1", it just does't work.

 

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?

It should be avoided, but you can't avoid it completely, because magical leather armor would still probably be better than non-magical mail.

The way to avoid it as I see it would probably to introduce different types of damage. Say, doublet would give 2 AC against slashing, Gambeson 3, Armored Doublet 4, but Scale Vest would still be better at protecting against piercing... or whatever.

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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.

 

- snip-

 

I kind of like this idea. Your armor grows with you as you adventure in it. You can add enchantments to it. It's like making your armor "level up" as if it were another party member. The more you enchant or improve your armor (by adding mail or it or plates to it, changing the stitching, using new materials, dying it different colors, etc), the less likely you are in completely going for another new set of armor. Of course, it might be worthwhile to change into that new shiny mithril plate mail for your fighter and try to begin enchanting that, but the heavy gambeson with dexterity enchantments and plate add-ons still comes in handy when the fighter needs it.


My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

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Guest omnilicious1

I find that balancing and trying to make everything viable almost always ruins a game for me. The last thing I want to see is tiers of armor that replace others. It's consolitis at its worst sneaking into a PC only game (PC generally involves a more OPEN platform for choice), not to mention things like that would be more indicative of a tech increase that I don't think will be present in the project eternity game at the points each tier would become available. Not to mention that having 3-4 viable armors that upgrade in tiers would be a lot worse than having 12-30 (D&D expansions added a ton of armors including exotic armors and optimizations, not all good, but interesting) gave you the option to have a lot more than 2 upgrades and on top of that a lot of different aesthetic choices.

 

In 3e a lot of armor specializations made lighter/heavier/medium armors more fun to use. Different materials for armors (Adamanetine/Mithral/etc), expenses (1,500g for full plate, 200g for breast plate), armor check penalties (-6 full plate, -3 breast plate), weight (which also affects check penalties), movement speed, class abilities (granted I didn't care if my barbarian had armor or not... HP tank! Armor's a crutch), class roles/meta-game character roles (Cleric in robes - priest or cleric in fullplate - holy warrior), spellsword (wizard in chainmail!!!! awesome no?).

 

etc. etc.

 

Granted your game will be different, but the last thing I would want is to be hammered by the same issues that are designed to make console RPG's easy for developers.

 

In summation: I would rather have a bunch of armor choices, good and bad than a few.

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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.

In this case I suggest a bonus of some type, as the character is already profficient in fighting when wearing this armor, maybe not improving it per se, but rather the character knows the limits of the armor and how to use its strengths or weaknesses to his advantage. If a character wasn't trained to fight with a certain kind of armor, maybe he should receive a penalty for the first x fights until he is comfortable wearing it?

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One thing I'd like to see that I haven't seen mentioned yet is a difference in how different types of armour protects against different types of attacks. This can be found in various editions of (A)D&D's optional rules but also in other games. So for instance, chain mail may be particularly effective at stopping slashing attacks but susceptible to piercing and perhaps bludgeoning attacks while plate is good at stopping slashing attacks but less so at stopping piercing and bludgeoning attacks. Perhaps certain styles of armour are more flammable or conductive to electricity, etc.

 

Beyond that, I would like to see different materials of various effectiveness - whether or not that's a linear system where one material is simply better than another or whether there are tradeoffs. I think that another poster's idea about technological differences is interesting and may come up if you're approaching a tomb with advanced or archaic forms of armour, but otherwise might be a bit strange assuming the game doesn't take place over generations. There might be ultra rare or unique armours gained through questing whether through an ultraskilled craftsman or lost legendary armour of some sort.

 

You might also consider having equipment not have to be traded out all that often. There may well be weapons and armour that are of better quality than others with other considerations being trade offs between pieces that are more or less equal with advancement primarily coming through your characters becoming more skilled as opposed to primarily gathering ever more powerful loot.

 

I'm not generally a fan of just seeing a cultural name attached to equipment to make it better or worse like in KotOR or Dragon Age because for it to have meaning you'd have to be familiar with the culture in question and it might seem strange that a given culture's stuff is simply better than everyone else's. I much prefer differing materials and possibly technological differences as appropriate.

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My friends and I back in the day did lots of armor based on what race made it and often what material it was made from.

 

Elves were able to make very "tough" armors from hides and special plants and such for example while dwarves made heavy tank like stuff.

It was a little more complex then we intended but we are not game designers either ;)

But maybe that will give you guys a new idea on breaking armor types up both in terms of playability and artistic looks. Ranger wants to be one with nature? Go heavy elven "plate" made from living vines and bark. Or a gnome in his lightweight gear driven techngnome armor.

 

Just an idea.

 

I was thinking along the same lines. Maybe certain races or cultures (Vailians vs Glanfanthan Elves perhaps?) are rally good at workign with a certain type of armor, but there are types of materials they wouldn't touch.

 

As an example, perhaps the Vailians are quite good at making doublets, and make the best doublets in the game world. However, they do not work (except that one rare armorer) with a certain animal hide because of the cultural significance of that animal. Thus while making armor from that animal would be quite the effective armor, you cannot get the best armorers to work with that hide because of cultural reasons. Perhaps the Glanfanthan elves make leather armors in that hide, but glanfanthans aren't renowned for their leather work.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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For the topic of armors, I would humbly suggest a solution from one of the greatest games of all time: Phantasy Star IV.

 

In PSIV, you would progress through the game completing quests and moving to new areas, mainly cities. In the new cities there were usually new types of armor available, but only for a couple of classes.

 

In Example:

  • There might be 4 characters in your party, but only 1 or 2 of them would be able to use the new equipment in a new city, as certain characters are unable to use specific types.
  • This allowed for steady, linear progression, and felt very rewarding.

Here is a link to a page with more info:http://shrines.rpgclassics.com/genesis/ps4/armor.shtml

 

As you can see, not every character is able to equip every armor type.

  • Certain heavy armor type are restricted to heavy characters
  • Certain light armor types, restricted to light characters
  • A couple of lower tech suits usable by all characters.

11 Characters total. Gryz is my personal favorite.

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Remember that you could make armor types that are combinations of other armor types. An example would be the Champion Mage armor from Dragon Age 2, in that set the chest is leather while the shoulders, gloves and kneecaps etc are made of plate. I feel like if you made a system where you could upgrade your armor in this way would be cool. Let's say I'm a mage who thinks robes are for sissies, since there are no logical reasons for wearing them. Let's say that I choose to wear something like a magyfied* leather armor. It would be cool if I could go to a smith with my [seer's Cuirass(Leather)] and attach some plate to it, perhaps some neat shoulders. Maybe it could then become a [Reinforced Seer's Cuirass(Leather+Plate)], the appropriate dexterity values and stuff could be altered accordingly, since the mage is now not wearing full plate, just small pieces. Just my two cents.

 

 

 

* = made to look like it's for mages. Lots of strips of cloth and stuff everywhere.

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What about a movement bonus for crafted armour over found dropped armour. You may be making a suit of armour specific to your character's physique are you not? Doing so may improve it's effectiveness being snug and bendable in the correct places. Perhaps even the skill of the crafter will come into play as well. If you aren't as experienced with crafting a type of armour, you may not get that bonus.

Edited by Gauldar
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Thank you for smorking.

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