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

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I won't be too specific because I'm no game designer, you guys are better at specifics than I could be.

 

I feel that it is vital that you don't fall into this "everything equal" trap. For example, robes would give you some magical shield bonus, leather would give you some dodge bonus and plate would give you damage reduction and overall it'd be balanced to all offer the same protection, please don't do that, one of the benefits of playing a group of characters is that they can have weaknesses that they cannot overcome by themselves.

 

I can't wait to find out how you want to make every kind of armor viable for classes in a way that different class specs would desire different pieces of armor, but the basic archetype should be clear:

 

Plate offers the best survivability period. A heavy fighter covered in shining plate from head to toe should feel heavy and durable.

Leather is all about quickness and stealth; leather is fragile, a thief in leather should not walk in the open and it should feel dangerous to do so.

Robes confer power and offer no protection whatsoever. Wizards are above the rabble that needs to wear unwieldy protection to fight.

 

The important part is that this concept does not change depending on the stage of the game, so many games make everyone powerhouses at some point, robe users should always need special protection, a heavy fighter should always feel awkward to fight with without backup, and someone in light armor should always be alarmed if an arrow flies his way.

 

Concerning the stats, I'm actually fine with a somewhat simplistic system, the next tier all things equal should be better than the previous tier and there's nothing wrong with having some generic modifiers (I don't care how that is communicated). I don't know how much depth the system should have, too much depth would probably detract from the experience rather than add to it, to me it is more important how the armor is aquired and how its value is communicated. A +3 item in Baldur's gate, while plain, was more exciting than a shiny yellow rare item in Diablo for instance and that felt good.

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Yes! I love this update. I really like the idea of improving armour ie through crafting or the like rather than just a certain kind of armour becoming completely obsolete.

 

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 say it's fine if they upgrade via crafting etc, and I think the upgrade should be expressed by cultural or material descriptors - numerical descriptors are too immersion-breaking - besides, we'll figure out the stats by unequipping/re-equipping anyhow.

 

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?

Hmm not necessarily, the hide armour could just upgrade into a superior version of hide armour with some sort of a badass name and look. :)

 

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.

 

Yup this is a-ok by me, since it's indicating the armour's "type."

Edited by Joukehainen
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  • 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.

 

One situation which I can think where this should happen is when party goes against enemies who have numerous ammount of gunpowder weapons as light armours don't give nearly any protection against them, so it would probably be better if most of the character in party have armour that can withstand punishment from oppening volley.

 

This also means that I think that characters should not be able to dodge (at least very weakly) bullets. So best options against gunpowder weapons are heavy armours and invisibility. But as gunpowder weapons are rare, so players should be able to get infromation before hand where they probably will meet many enemies with them and so they can prepare their party accordingly against such threat.

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No wizzies in plate, please. That's why protection spells exist. That's the trade off.

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Midget soothsayer robs bank. Small medium at large!

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No wizzies in plate, please. That's why protection spells exist. That's the trade off.

 

They've been saying before the project even got funded that we'd have wizards in plate. :p

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First Comment, removing or equipping armor during combat should provoke an attack of opportunity or should take multiple action rounds....or at least gets a funny look from the NPC as to how his lightly armor opponent turned into a heavily armored opponent.

 

Now to bring out a list in reply to Original Post:

 

2nd Edition AD&D

-Yes to a wide variety of armor types

-No to class or race restricts unless some race is allergic to certain materials in an armor or some other reasonable explanation.

 

3rd Edition AD&D

-Negative to purely maximum dexterity bonus penalties.

-Yes, to variety of penalties and benefits of different armors

 

Outside the box

-Armor Efficiency increases with usage and familiarity in combat rather than as a feat or skill

-Armor as defined by three variables:

by Material Type: (Region) Copper, (Region) Iron, (Animal Type) Leather, (Animal Type)Scale, and random other materials

By Tensile/Compressive Strength: +1, +2 or if you want to be more historical, instead of putting a plus one or plus two, put the maker or producer of the weapon, like a Torchmark that has the same/similar definition of describing the strength of the weapon.

By Composition Density: Super light, Light (Chain / padded) , Medium (Splint / Leather), Heavy (Studded leather / Plate), Super Heavy

--Rarer material type, better quality, higher composition densities equals higher prices and generally an increase or change in bonuses received.

- Increase Complexity of Armor transitions: Most of your gamers have a bit of critical think skills under their belts add more trade-offs to armors whether it means going between two types of armor, tiers of armor, or weights of armors. Familiarity with combat in your particular armor should come into play i.e. First outside the box remark. Different armors should fend off different weapons / attacks differently. Whether it means that a heavy armor in a higher classified tier become more susceptible to bash attacks than its previously tiered heavy armor but has impeccable piercing resistance …or that a light armor in a higher classified tier has no piercing resistance, causes you to asphyxiate every X rounds in combat, gives excellent blunt damage absorption and gives 10% camouflage compared to its lower classified tier.

- In response to, “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").” Just remember realism can be created through game history and story.

-Armors that warp wizard spells are your friend. …Dyslexic wizard spells anyone? JourneyQuest anyone?

- Game of Thrones, 6th episode of Season 1, In the Eyrie, Bronn does battle with Lysa's champion, Ser Vardis Egen. Bronn fights defensively, waiting for Vardis to start to tire, and then cuts and kills him, sending his body rolling out of the 'Moon Door' that leads to a thousand-foot drop

 

Responses to Questions

 

1. 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?

 

It doesn’t need to as long as there is a rawhide type that can communicate the same benefits as wearing leather.

-Benefit examples, Rawhide: Beast skills that improve reflexes, improve initiative, sense aggression, improve move speed, intimidate NPCs, or something similar that doesn’t mean an increase in armor rating so much as an increase in overall combat / social skills and abilities.

 

2. 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"?

 

Prefer a Cultural and material descriptor or if the culture has a numerical description system already in place for the quality of an item then also good.

 

3. 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.

 

Why? Just be creative. Immersion is good. If thinking about it from a fantasy world view or a real world view causes people to break immersion then try to improve upon the design or description to indicate otherwise.

Edited by Aeristal
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One situation which I can think where this should happen is when party goes against enemies who have numerous ammount of gunpowder weapons as light armours don't give nearly any protection against them

 

Actually, most often it happens when dodge-type faces such a numerous amount of attacks with low damage that it's better to equip something which blocks them than to rely on dodge.

Edited by Shadenuat

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Here are a few (briefly stated) types of the armor progression systems that are being mentioned:

 

"Maximization system"

Players aim to maximize (or minimize) a single armor stat. (A/D&D)

Problems: Too many to list.

 

"Two-option Maximization system"

Players aim to maximize a stat by taking one of two viable routes, such as Str vs Dex (3rd Ed D&D)

Problems: Armors in the middle of those best for either route are fairly useless; at most two armor builds per class

Possible solution: Introduce "perks" of some kind for middle-tier armors that add functionality equal to that gained by the maximizing route

 

"Tier progression system"

Have a set number of tiers with various armor types per tier where one type is functionally replaced by the one in the next tier (Sawyer's update)

Problems: Forces players to upgrade to the next tier to maintain maximum effectiveness, even if it conflicts with their character concept (there's a second potential problem mentioned but I think that it is not necessarily a problem with the armor system, per se).

Potential Solution: Introduce "perks" of some kind for lower tiers of armor that grant players the option of sticking with that tier instead of moving to the next.

 

 

There's also a problem with the "perks" solution, no matter how it's implemented. At best, what that perk is really accomplishing is allowing for other options of customizing characters. For example, say you have a two-option system, Str and Dex, and a Barbarian class whose abilities rely heavily on a third stat, Speed. Str and Dex do not affect Speed; the Barbarian can choose to maximize one or the other. However if you introduce middle-tier armors that increase the characters Speed stat, this becomes a third viable option for Barbarian characters. Then of course you need to provide similar middle-tier benefits for all classes. This addition essentially keeps the two-options but allows the utility of items to fill the gap in between. The point is, no matter how many times you do this, you're still only allowing for "somewhere in between two polar extremes," and the system is still overall fairly shallow as a result.

 

On the other hand, a system where you can mix and match from a broader array of variables provides more depth but is far more difficult to balance. So what do you choose? I'd say, choose the system with the greatest number of viable player options that can practically be balanced within the development time frame. Which option is that? I'm not sure, but I'm liking the "Tier system" with however many "perk" options might be afforded players.

Edited by fortuntek

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Lots of interesting discussion here, but one factor that's not been raised - surprisingly - is fatigue.

 

Combat is tiring and wearing 100+ kgs of armour should make it several times more so. Having a fatigue system (where reaching 0 results in your character being disabled or severely restricted in actions) means those using heavy armour either have to limit themselves to being "one hit wonders" in combat (only being able to attack for the first few rounds) or commit to constantly improving their fatigue levels (via options chosen on level-up, perks, etc).

 

While this would limit sustained combat in heavy armour to higher-level characters, it would still allow heavily-arnoured low-level characters a role as tanks in combat - being able to absorb enemy attacks while other more lightly armoured party members do the damage.

 

Fatigue doesn't make an appearance in most tabletop games because of the extra record keeping it requires. However a computer RPG doesn't have any such constraint, so this option should be well worth considering.

Edited by AstralWanderer
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I'm new to the forums but really enjoying reading all the thought and ideas that people have on the subject some of which I think are really interesting and some of which I honestly think would be a detriment but that is the reality of game design you aren't going to make everyone happy. As for myself I think gameplay and enjoyment should take presidence over any other mechanic or attempt to be realistic. I know many people have suggested that wearing Heavy Armor should confer a movement penalty which would be more realistic and make a decision to wear it more tricky however I think that is a bit of a tricky question as movement has a large impact on the game as a whole. This is also going to be effected by other systems in the game for example what is going to be the main mode of travel if it is going to be walking and if you say you walk 10% slower in Heavy Armor then what is probably going to happen is that people who want to use Heavy Armor either have to just put up with being slow (which isn't fun and could get really annoying) or keep another set of armor they have to change into in order to move at a normal rate (which again isn't fun as having to change armor just to get around annoyances like that is more likely to make me annoyed with the game then make me want to keep playing). However if the main mode of travel is going to be via horseback (as an example) and type of armor doesn't effect your movement speed while mounted on a horse then it is alot less of an issue. Another idea might be to have the movement penalities only apply when you are in combat which solves the general movement problem at a loss for realism which may annoy other people.

 

In regards to tiers and upgrades for armor I would be much more in favor of something like Iron -> Steel -> Mithril -> Ebony -> Crystal (or something similar I would just using random heavy armor types) then have Plate Armor -> Plate Armor +1 -> Plate Armor +2

 

In regards to descriptors such as a Fine Iron Helm or a Superior Iron Helm that really depends on how you want to treat them. I like the way Skyrim handled it where the base materials were the tiers (Iron, Steel, etc) and then the prefixes denoted levels of improvement upon that tier so that a Steel Helm would be better then an Iron Helm but a Superior Iron Helm (with Superior indicating 2 levels of refinement) might be better then a Steel Helm.

 

I like the idea of having a wide range of armors available but each with different benefits and drawbacks some of which might not have anything to do directly with damage avoidance or mitigation. It is definitely going to be very tough to get a system that feels and works well that a majority of people like

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First of all, hello everyone.

 

So, regarding armor... for one thing, I think there's another system some games have used, which is the bronze->iron->steel->mithril progression [EDIT: Ninja'd]. Now, I'm not suggesting that form the basis of the armor hierarchy, but it's important to keep in mind that it's not quite as simple as "these armors are made of metal, and are more protective than non-metal armors". Now, one thing I'm very excited about in this post is the mention of forms of armor like the gambeson, brigandine, and lamellar, which are usually disregarded in fantasy games despite the fact that they were historically used by more soldiers than mail or plate armor in many armies. The Romans for example used lorica segmentata in certain periods, which is technically a form of laminar armor, if I remember correctly, and I think a type of laminar armor would be another cool thing to include. Other little options that I would love to see is the choice between a full mail hauberk and a smaller byrnie, or the decision to sport plate armor with basic spaulders or the more prominent pauldrons you see in many fantasy settings.

 

Now, the "dead zone" of medium armor is to me a mathematical question more than an ideological question in many ways (though there is some hint of min-maxing perhaps, and that's something that must be confronted at large). If light armor gives a protection bonus of 5 but a mobility bonus of 10, and heavy armor gives a protection bonus of 10, and a mobility bonus of 5, maybe medium armor should give 8 or even 8.5 in both instead of 7. Overly simplistic, but you get the point. The "mages can't wear heavy armor" restrictions are one way to bring medium armor back to a relevant status, but certainly I think the main reason that medium armor is unappreciated is that min-maxing is usually the rewarded strategy (though hopefully that will not be the case in Project Eternity).

 

One more factor that is often disregarded is the potential for mixing and matching different types of armor. Assuming heavier armor bestows a higher protection bonus but a mobility penalty as well, should that be proportional across armor components? Wouldn't torso armor generally be a better protection than limb armor, for example, but limb armor would have relatively more sway over mobility considerations? The perils of such a mechanic would of course be the prospects of all characters opting for heavy cuirasses and lighter limb armor that allowed freedom of movement. Most current systems have treated different armor pieces as proportional components of the same whole, and perhaps changing that for the sake of realism would sacrifice too much in the way of interesting balance.

 

Another related question that I see more often is that of "realism vs. balance", but I usually find that to be a false dichotomy. Real life (and history) is the most balanced game ever, and it's only ever a matter of how many variables one wants to practically include in an RPG that makes the pursuit of either one at odds with the other. In other words, does something like monetary cost come into play regarding balance? Really, what is balance though? Is it merely a state in which each player has an equal probability of winning every engagement? Sounds like a pretty boring game to me. Well, then what decides who wins? Is it just skill in eye-hand coordination, or real-time strategy, or advance planning via optimization of the game's mechanics? In most games it's some combination of the above, with an emphasis typically on the latter in traditional cRPGs.

 

Now, I've kinda gone off on a tangent, but my point is that balance is and always will be a subjective matter. Thankfully it seems the developers may have acknowledged this and instead framed the debate in terms of realism vs. nostalgia instead. For me while I think most of today's "RPGs" are quite mechanically deficient- and thus looking back to the golden age around the turn of the millenium could do some good- I do equally want a game that is revolutionary in some ways, which means making some bold choices. The fact of the matter is that if you want to play a carbon copy of a classic d20-rules cRPG, you can just dig BG or NWN out of your closet.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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Typically what I've seen that makes some sense to me in a real world setting, is that while wearing armor may make it a little harder to hit you in some regards, It's primarily reducing incoming damage.

 

So as you increase the amount of armor that you are wearing, you'll take less damage from incoming attack. At the same time though, the extra armor is stiff, and weighs a lot, so it will slow down your ability to move freely, which in turn, typically makes it easier to hit you since you can't dodge or parry as easily.

 

Now the ratio of damage reduction to dex penulty typically depends on what balance you're looking for, and how much value the stats have, but there's other things to consider for the bonus/penaulty values. Things like the material it's made out of (ie Iron chain vs Steel Chain vs Mithril Chain.) You also have the level of craftsmanship involved, where a highly skilled craftsman might be able to make a lighter piece of armor without neglicting protection.

That not even getting into enchantment spells that might let metal flex like cloth until it sustains a blow, similar to the Newtonian fluids.

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Lots of interesting discussion here, but one factor that's not been raised - surprisingly - is fatigue.

 

Combat is tiring and wearing 100+ kgs of armour should make it several times more so. Having a fatigue system (where reaching 0 results in your character being disabled or severely restricted in actions) means those using heavy armour either have to limit themselves to being "one hit wonders" in combat (only being able to attack for the first few rounds) or commit to constantly improving their fatigue levels (via options chosen on level-up, perks, etc).

 

While this would limit sustained combat in heavy armour to higher-level characters, it would still allow heavily-arnoured low-level characters a role as tanks in combat - being able to absorb enemy attacks while other more lightly armoured party members do the damage.

 

Fatigue doesn't make an appearance in most tabletop games because of the extra record keeping it requires. However a computer RPG doesn't have any such constraint, so this option should be well worth considering.

 

I writed down some of my thoughts about fatigue system earlier in this thread

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Personally, I think that it should be more a factor of cost, similar to Morrowind/Skyrim. Light armor could potentially be just as protective, based on the material. And the finer/stronger the material, the more costly it is. A bronze cuirass wouldn't be as good as an iron cuirass, which wouldn't be as good as a steel cuirass, which wouldn't be as good as a folded steel cuirass, which wouldn't be as good as a... you get the idea. Also, just like in the Bethesda games, it should be realistically "heavy". Iron might be stronger than bronze, but it is also heavier. So maybe you decide against "upgrading", because you don't want to "weigh down" your character.

 

I think that the different armor types should have definite benefits besides "AC"/"DR", similar to the D&D system. You wear thick, padded leather armor, and while it might not be great against edged weapons, it better protects you against blunt weapons. You have your awesome "titanium plate mail", and while you are pretty resistant to physical damage, you become more susceptible to elemental damage, specifically cold, heat, and electricity, since metal "conducts" all of those. Maybe if you are wearing robes, you actually LOSE resistance to fire, since you are now more combustible.

 

Let me make it clear- I don't think there should be any light/med/heavy armor proficiencies. That's just silly. It should be based off of your strength, endurance, and dexterity. If you are fit, then you can wear it. It should fatigue you at a rate which is related to your composite fitness. If you are strong, but don't have high endurance or dexterity, then fighting in heavy armor for extended periods should be more difficult than if you DO have high endurance and/or dexterity. I don't care if that armor is made out of leather, steel, rock, whatever. It should be weight that matters.

 

It might be okay to have an armor proficiency or two as a whole, which basically just mean you know how to fight in armor "appropriately". Meaning, you know how to use it to your advantage, since you have trained in it. So, at a basic level, you know not to waste your time or energy parrying a specific attack because you know your armor can withstand it. Perhaps more "armor proficiency" gains you bonuses to your "AC"/"DR", since you innately use your armor to its greatest effect, rather than just wearing something that serves to prevent you from being cut/bashed/pierced.

 

So, in summary: make it about materials, weight, fitness, and training.

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"1 is 1"

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Let me make it clear- I don't think there should be any light/med/heavy armor proficiencies. That's just silly.

THIS. While playing a specific "role" is central to the idea of an RPG, things like this just pigeon hole characters in an unconvincing manner.

 

Another thing I should add that I don't want to see is an insane degree of reliance on magically enchanted armor in the endgame. Enchantments are nice and all, but ultimately they tend to become a way to make up for the fact that the armor itself isn't interesting enough to stand alone. I like the idea of culturally-tied armor types but I think that should be more cosmetic than anything else (though they'd certainly be better than the numbered system). For me, the main armor hierarchy should be denoted by concrete considerations such as design (such as the tiered system suggested in the update), type of material, or "quality".

Edited by mcmanusaur
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I've always felt armor should be kept in 4 some-what abstract categories/tiers, and then have the material an/or quality dictate individual armor pieces exact stats, with armor types/designs relating to appearence. The tiers really just determines how the specific piece of armor relates to, protection, mobility/speed and endurance. Protection could be, deflecting attacks, reducing damage, or even increasing an opponents miss chance (a sheet of clothing may not stop a sword, but it makes you difficult to see!). Mobility could be your ability to outright dodge, use skills, how quickly you traverse the battlefield, or how quickly you attack. And Endurance would dictate how readily your skills and abilities are available to you, this might increase the cost of a skill, the time it takes between uses or weaken the an abilities effectiveness.

 

The 4 tiers are the established standards:

 

No armor / Adorments (Tier 0)

  • Protection - None (_)
  • Mobility - 100% (+++)
  • Endurance - 100% (+++)

Light (Tier 1)

  • Protection - Minor (+)
  • Mobility - 100% (+++)
  • Endurance - 110% (++)

Medium (Tier 2)

  • Protection - Moderate (++)
  • Mobility - 90% (++)
  • Endurance - 110% (++)

Heavy (Tier 3)

  • Protection - High (+++)
  • Mobility - 90% (++)
  • Endurance - 120% (+)

Once a piece of armor falls into a category, it's material and quality would further adjust the above basic stats or add new qualities to the item.

 

Materials:

  • Iron - Increases Protection (+), Decreases Mobility (-), Decreases Endurance (-), Vulnerable to Rust
  • Mithril - Increases Protection (+), Reduced Weight, Penalty to Stealth

Qualities:

  • Masterwork - Increase Mobility and/or Endurance (+)
  • Full Suit - Increase Protection (+), Reduced chance to be critically hit

So some examples of armors would be as follows:

  • Breastplate (Heavy, Iron)
  • Full Plate Armor (Heavy, Iron, Full Suit)
  • Leather Cuirass (Light, Leather)
  • Leather Armor (Light, Leather, Full Suit)

 

You could make armor designs, such as plate, scale, chain and make them armor qualities, but I'd personally rather make them dictate appearence. So mechanically scale armor (heavy, iron) and plate armor (heavy, iron) would be the same, but would have distinct appearences. Basically you're decoupling the armor design (plate, scale, chain, etc.) from the stats of the armor, and instead providing the stats through the various tags (heavy, iron, masterwork, etc).

 

It's a complex system I know, but I've always preferred to start with high complexity and then trim down and streamline a concept. I just hope it makes sense hehe!

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I'll admit now, I havent, yet read everyone's opinions, so I apologise in advance if I'm repeating someone.

 

I think a solution that finds a happy medium in the armor issue is one that is both somewhat realistic and also used by the PnP system Anima.

The you work it is that different armor types provide bonuses against different damage types, call it DR or AC or whatnot.

For example, Full Plate Armor will provide a great defense against piercing and slashing attacks, but bludgeoning attacks still break through and elemental attacks really suck (don't want to get electrocuted, cooked, or frostbitten in there). Leather Armor, on the other hand, has okay protection against most of the physical damage types, but it provides great resistance to lightning. Fur Armor will do great against Cold. Chain Mail is great against slashing and bludgeoning but not so good against piercing.

 

This is somewhat realistic because armor evolved throughout history as a response to the popular weapons used. And of course the weapons used changed as armors did.

Anima goes one step further by providing a Use Armor skill value that can be increased to allow players to layer soft armors with hard armors to create hybrid defenses (Plate Armor over Fur Armor gives good physical defense while still keeping the wearer protected from cold attacks).

 

If you want to go that far, that's up to you, but I think that having different armors be good against different damage types, the squishies may still want to wear heavy armor if they are getting ready to take the front lines in a war.

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I think Arcanum had some interesting aspects to armor that should be taken into account.

 

Namely, noise as a mechanic (plate armor was loud and monsters would attack you because they could hear you).

 

It seems that leather and animal hide was better for elemental damage in general whereas plate armor was better for weapon damage.

e.g.

Plate was also a good conductor so electrical damage was worse. Leather is an insulated material. Less electrical damage.

Fire damage might heat up plate more whereas a more insulated material might be better. This is the material itself being worse, not due to any magical effects.

Cold damage?

 

Price should be a balancing mechanic. Even in these days weapons are chosen based on their costs. We don't send out B-2 bombers on routine flights because it costs like a $million per flight. Higher-tier armors should cost more upkeep.

 

Armors should be damagable. In Arcanum, I hated fighting ore golems because they destroyed armor. I'd generally try to use a less important armor there that I would be willing to lose if it broke.

 

I just want to reiterate that making different materials able to reach different levels in your tier system can overcome this problem of maximizing down the tier-tree. If a certain hide loses part of its qualities (troll hide armor losing its regeneration ability as it becomes troll leather armor), it makes moving up certain tiers more of a deliberate decision than a no-brainer.

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

My DXdiag:

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

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I like that Obsidian is reconsidering how armour works, rather than using the 'tried and true' model, which makes it very bland.

 

Firstly, I think there is the opportunity to consider armour as pieces, rather than suits. Classically armour involves pieces connected together to allow for movement and flexibility. There is no reason for people to wear identical armour on all parts of their body, and commonly different pieces wear out at different rates.

 

Taking a view that armour comes in pieces - and in layers - not as suits, allows significant game play opportunities to mix and match capabilities.

 

For example, someone might wear a breastplate with leather leggings, which means their chest is more impervious to slashes than their legs, or someone might wear stronger and more rigid armour on their shield arm, so that it can take the bashing, while using older and less resilient armour on their sword arm for flexibility.

 

Armour pieces also allow for special abilities for each piece - with set bonuses for wearing a full set of one particular armour. Also, if woken suddenly, it raises the potential for someone to go into combat partially armoured, or for someone who has an armour piece break, they can scavenge a temporary replacement from the battlefield.

 

This also supports much greater variation in the appearance of individuals in the game (though an ability to laquer metal armour, add insignia and wear different colour cloth-based armours would be a bonus as well).

 

Regarding the strength vs dex debate, I think the quality of the armour is important, and the ability to pay huge sums for a tailored suit (designed to balance for an individual) should be considered in the mix. Historically while plate armour was heavy, it was custom designed for individuals (who practiced wearing it regularly), and didn't cut down on mobility as much as people think.

 

Certainly armour that provides benefits for both high dex and strength should be extremely expensive, as should armour made with exotic components.

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I've always felt armor should be kept in 4 some-what abstract categories/tiers

Please correct me if I'm misrepresenting your suggestion, but that seems pretty status quo when it comes to how DND-based RPG's do things. Personally I would question even breaking armor down into such categories at all. This isn't aimed specifically at you, but are we really better off grouping armor into light, medium, and heavy? Shouldn't the different qualities of individual types of armor speak for themselves? Say that we get rid of armor proficiencies, and we get rid of any class restriction based on overall category of armor... have we really lost anything? I'm not so sure. Is it really worth trying to force a square peg into a round hole by making some sort of linear tiered system? I realize there needs to be some system of progression, and I like the proposed tiered system more than other systems I've seen in the past, but... Well, anyway I realize the categories of armor are more a theoretical construct than anything else, but I think that affects what choices players are ultimately willing to make. Leaned min-maxing tendencies aside, without such categories and with careful statistical tweaking, it would be more up to the individual player where they want to draw the line.

Edited by mcmanusaur

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Hmm, no class armor restrictions? I wonder how full plate rogues would work...

 

That's really the problem with this system. It sounds great while you talk about the Fighter, but starts becoming bizzare when you talk about the Mage/Thief. The logical step is to start gating options by armor, but in doing so, all you've really done is shifted the problem of only having one or two choices to a different class.

 

The removal of restrictions is meant to address the issue of a Fighter not having a viable light-armor build, and this solves that problem. But what it does is shift the issue from the Fighter to the Mage/Thief. Now they can choose heavy armor, just like the Fighter could choose the light armor, but doing so isn't a real choice since it invalidates the skills of the Mage/Thief.

 

Worse, it opens the door to seriously degenerate gameplay. The instinct is to permit the Mage/Thief to retain some class defining skills, and it's ultimately just a matter of time before one of those skills when combined with the significant advantages of heavy armor, ends up breaking the class and making it dominating. Sort of like AD&D's Kensai/Mage combo. When that happens, it really just ends up reducing everything to "There's one choice of class with one choice of armor" in an RPG system, since it becomes so superior to anything else that it sets a new bar for content.

 

A great example of this is Asheron's Call, where the lack of class restrictions on armor ultimately ended up making the only real build a War Mage. Ultimately, content became so skewed to providing challenge for the uber class that quite literally, no other class could engage the content. Given, that was an MMORPG, and so not a directly applicable example since it had monthly content, it's still the end result.

 

IMO the best solution would be to retain class restrictions and implement this new system over it. Removing the class restrictions is only going to shift the problem and ultimately, eventually, end up with degenerate builds.

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Guest omnilicious1

You could always try the classic sci-fi armor styles - pieces that protect specific areas and have HP of their own (if you don't want to have classic level up structure in the game) or AP (for regular leveling).

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I'd like to bring up some issues which I have not noticed discussion of.

 

First, there's the whole "pack rat" thing. In some games, I have no idea what I will need, so I wind up carrying enough junk to fill a room (all in a small pocket somewhere, thanks to the limitations of computer games). As time goes on, my options and needs increase. There's some fun here, but not much for me. But some games make it a point of leaving me in the dark about what I need (and, I often never use my spares -- that depends on the game itself). Even if I know I will never need the gear, I never know if I might need it for a future companion. And then there's how badly the armor simplifications in dragon age ii felt...

 

Second, "real armor" tends to be fitted to the person (there are some exceptions), and so it could be entirely viable to make it so that only rarely would heavy armor drop that you could use immediately (instead of having to do some perhaps extensive and/or expensive work to make it fit). Anyways, another way of balancing "human tank" armor could be its economics and social and political issues -- if it's available but you have to lead a very limited life to use it, would that be fun? (I do not know...)

 

Third, there's magic, and how it relates to armor. For game balance we could easily have some sort of conflict between heavy armor and heavy magical protections. Perhaps magic destroys the armor, perhaps magical protection does not stack with armor protection, perhaps heavy metal drains the magic in some way. Or perhaps there's some magical principle (law of similarity or some such) which lets you take armor features from one set of armor and apply them to another (thus introducing some independence between "appearance" and "effectiveness"). Or perhaps some magics are in some way a living thing and some magics have preferences (strong, mild, or whatever) which relate to things like armor. Lots of choices here, including a lot of bad options. (Starting with: if magic is plentiful and conflicts with armor why is there any armor at all? Or if it's rare and scarce, where are the resulting conflicts and tensions and how do they fit in with everything else going on, and are they any fun?)

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Guest omnilicious1

Second, "real armor" tends to be fitted to the person (there are some exceptions), and so it could be entirely viable to make it so that only rarely would heavy armor drop that you could use immediately (instead of having to do some perhaps extensive and/or expensive work to make it fit). Anyways, another way of balancing "human tank" armor could be its economics and social and political issues -- if it's available but you have to lead a very limited life to use it, would that be fun? (I do not know...)

 

Real armor is strapped on using belts, so it doesn't necessarily have to be custom fitted (although if you were very wealthy it was, but still used straps).

 

Third, there's magic, and how it relates to armor. For game balance we could easily have some sort of conflict between heavy armor and heavy magical protections. Perhaps magic destroys the armor, perhaps magical protection does not stack with armor protection, perhaps heavy metal drains the magic in some way. Or perhaps there's some magical principle (law of similarity or some such) which lets you take armor features from one set of armor and apply them to another (thus introducing some independence between "appearance" and "effectiveness"). Or perhaps some magics are in some way a living thing and some magics have preferences (strong, mild, or whatever) which relate to things like armor. Lots of choices here, including a lot of bad options. (Starting with: if magic is plentiful and conflicts with armor why is there any armor at all? Or if it's rare and scarce, where are the resulting conflicts and tensions and how do they fit in with everything else going on, and are they any fun?)

 

Standard fantasy magic & armor is that it depends. Specifically in D&D the armor bonus granted by magic (deflection/natural/circumstance/luck/dodge or ARMOR) determined if it would or wouldn't stack. Armor bonuses from magic don't stack with each other or armor bonuses from items. Same deal with deflection (Prot from alignment & ROP bonuses don't stack for example).

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