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Discussing armor viability strictly within the context of human history is misleading and invalid in regard to armor design for a fantasy video game. Certainly we take reality as a basis for determining the properties of various kinds of armor, but a fantasy setting injects many, many variables which fundamentally change how armor (and every other element) manifests in a way that is completely distinct from humans on earth in antiquity.

 

Just a few of these variables that radically change how we consider armor are:

 

non-human races with superhuman or sub-human attributes

materials that have attributes which are completely disparate from any material found on earth

crafting and design techniques that do not or can not exist in reality

environmental conditions (like weather, gravity, terrain) that don't exist on earth

and above all the presence of magic and enchantment which is both a consideration on its own and a modifier for all previously mentioned variables

 

"Plate trumps all" might be more valid for a medieval europe combat simulator (it might not even be then). But this is a fantasy game where you might be able to construct a suit of armor made from dragon scales, or forge a shirt of enchanted chainmail from a metal that does not exist in reality.

 

Variety, choice, complexity, and roleplaying are all essential to a game of this type. The world would be so terribly drab if I was forced (in a fantasy setting) to clad my barbarian in plate instead of having the option to dress him in the hide of a mythical creature that he slew himself.

 

Its all a matter of balance. You want enough choice to be stimulating and true to the fantasy nature of the setting, but I'm not arguing that everything should be viable to the point where armor is merely a fashion statement.

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I think people shouldn't factor reality in too much.

 

First of all you can easily crawl away from a knight in full armor. It's the type of stuff you don before battle and take off right after. In plate armor you won't be able to mount a horse without help. Of course, plate stops just about everything short of a stiletto between plates or war hammer, which simply smashes metal in and brakes the armor into pieces. But arrows from composite bows or heavy arbalests (not large necessarily, just the ones that aren't hand-loaded) pierce right through plate, mail and what have you. Not to mention bullets here. So realistically outside of heavy cavalry full plate is both useless and silly, but it rapidly jumps into ridiculous category once you introduce firearms.

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In another thread there were some talk about crafting a legendary item. What if you always have the same armor, but you upgrade it (with gold, bartering/merchants, crafting, artifacts, loot, magic, skill points and what else effects it). Each part still separated in the inventory screen, and you can craft and enchant that which you are wearing progressively upgrading your armor.

 

How many parts are there going to be and how much "needs" to be visual in your inventory screen versus exploring screen?

 

I would preferably see all of these but fine with only the essentials.

Exploring/Both: * Essentials + yes please :D - maybe?

* Helmet

* Armor

* Weapons

* Shield/Off-hand

+ Legs

 

Inventory Only:

* Boots

* Gloves

+ Belt

+ Cloak

- 2xRings (more? :D this would have to make rings significantly weaker though)

- 1 Amulet

- 2 Earrings

- Tattoos

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Battlemage:

 

So the tradeoff in D&D has traditionally been, spellcasters get to wear less armor the better the spells they got. Sort of.

 

By extension, just saying Wizards can wear armor now means they'll either be highly overpowered, or their pure spellcasting builds will be underpowered.

 

Which means to me, that the ability to wear armor well NEEDS to be a thing that you spend resources on. And by resources I mean level up resources, as in feats or talent tree points, or whatever will end up being done.

 

I enjoy powerful spellcasters. Just how "powerful" might want to be tied in with lore as well, but point being a tradeoff between being able to wear armor and cast powerful magic spells needs to be made somehow. Perhaps an "armored arcana" type of feat/what have you that allows spellcasters the ability to wear more and more armor would be nice. After all, you are trading that ability for the assumed ability to make your spells more powerful by choosing other options when you level up.

 

This of course implies some manner of armored spell failure chance. A better, smoother system might be based instead on the level of spells you are casting. The higher the level the spell, the more armor interferes with it, the more points you'd need to put into the armored arcana, thing. This would mean classes that only ever have access to low level spells automatically don't need to worry as much about interference from armor. Meanwhile you can start a wizard out wearing armor, and if you want to continue with this you just get armored arcana when you start getting higher and higher level spells, if you don't want to continue then you just take armor off and don't put any points into armored arcana.

Edited by Frenetic Pony
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I think people shouldn't factor reality in too much.

 

First of all you can easily crawl away from a knight in full armor. It's the type of stuff you don before battle and take off right after. In plate armor you won't be able to mount a horse without help. Of course, plate stops just about everything short of a stiletto between plates or war hammer, which simply smashes metal in and brakes the armor into pieces. But arrows from composite bows or heavy arbalests (not large necessarily, just the ones that aren't hand-loaded) pierce right through plate, mail and what have you. Not to mention bullets here. So realistically outside of heavy cavalry full plate is both useless and silly, but it rapidly jumps into ridiculous category once you introduce firearms.

 

kind sir, I shall direct you to this excellent motion picture explaining why you can in fact move quite freely in full plate and why mounting a horse does not require a crane, or any other kind of help. Arrows shot from a composite bow would not pierce plate armour, unless it was a magical bow, of course. Plate armour was also quite frequently used by infantry soldiers, no doubt very stupid ones who were not told it's useless unless you're a cavalryman. Who knew.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqC_squo6X4

 

Some of you also seem to misunderstand what all this realistic armour discussion means. Nobody is suggesting to limit PE to historical armour only, nor is understanding of real armour irrelevant due to inclusion of fantasy elements. If we understand how the real stuff works, figuring out how these magical materials or unreal constructions would work is easier and has a feel of believability.

 

edit: the video also neatly shows how small the links of very high quality mail were and how tightly it was woven. (around 9:20) As the guy says "You can't even prick it with a needle.". Very much unlike all the crappy "replicas" one sees today, with massive rings.

Edited by Merlkir
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Which means to me, that the ability to wear armor well NEEDS to be a thing that you spend resources on. And by resources I mean level up resources, as in feats or talent tree points, or whatever will end up being done.

 

I enjoy powerful spellcasters. Just how "powerful" might want to be tied in with lore as well, but point being a tradeoff between being able to wear armor and cast powerful magic spells needs to be made somehow. Perhaps an "armored arcana" type of feat/what have you that allows spellcasters the ability to wear more and more armor would be nice. After all, you are trading that ability for the assumed ability to make your spells more powerful by choosing other options when you level up.

 

More spells or more armor slots? An... oh dear... xD ... improved license system?

 

Unrelated:

Could a Wizard, Magneto style, stop bullets mid-air and shoot them right back? :D

Edited by Osvir
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I think people shouldn't factor reality in too much.

 

First of all you can easily crawl away from a knight in full armor. It's the type of stuff you don before battle and take off right after. In plate armor you won't be able to mount a horse without help. Of course, plate stops just about everything short of a stiletto between plates or war hammer, which simply smashes metal in and brakes the armor into pieces. But arrows from composite bows or heavy arbalests (not large necessarily, just the ones that aren't hand-loaded) pierce right through plate, mail and what have you. Not to mention bullets here. So realistically outside of heavy cavalry full plate is both useless and silly, but it rapidly jumps into ridiculous category once you introduce firearms.

 

As Merlkir has pointed out, your statements about plate armour are incorrect: the belief that knights needed a crane to get on a horse is pure hollywoodism and the only historical reference that exists that it could ever be based on is that of a French king who needed to be lifted onto his horse not because of his armour but because he himself was too fat. If armour was that immobile you would never ever wear it, as people would just walk over to you once you fell off your horse, lift up your visor and stab you in the face. And as for the arrows bit, if that was even remotely true then it flies in the face of how the use of shields was reduced with the introduction of full plate as they were no longer essential to protect themselves from arrows. Oh, and firearms were first introduced around the same time as full plate was, which was late middle ages and the two technologies developed alongside each other.

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Plate armor was highly prized and coveted. If it hadn't been so expensive to make, anyone would have sought to get some and use it.
I've seen general agreement that chain was more expensive than plate. There's a reason that Renaissance soldiers would wear breastplates and not chain shirts.

Curious about the subraces in Pillars of Eternity? Check out 

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I think people shouldn't factor reality in too much.

 

First of all you can easily crawl away from a knight in full armor. It's the type of stuff you don before battle and take off right after. In plate armor you won't be able to mount a horse without help. Of course, plate stops just about everything short of a stiletto between plates or war hammer, which simply smashes metal in and brakes the armor into pieces. But arrows from composite bows or heavy arbalests (not large necessarily, just the ones that aren't hand-loaded) pierce right through plate, mail and what have you. Not to mention bullets here. So realistically outside of heavy cavalry full plate is both useless and silly, but it rapidly jumps into ridiculous category once you introduce firearms.

 

As Merlkir has pointed out, your statements about plate armour are incorrect: the belief that knights needed a crane to get on a horse is pure hollywoodism and the only historical reference that exists that it could ever be based on is that of a French king who needed to be lifted onto his horse not because of his armour but because he himself was too fat. If armour was that immobile you would never ever wear it, as people would just walk over to you once you fell off your horse, lift up your visor and stab you in the face. And as for the arrows bit, if that was even remotely true then it flies in the face of how the use of shields was reduced with the introduction of full plate as they were no longer essential to protect themselves from arrows. Oh, and firearms were first introduced around the same time as full plate was, which was late middle ages and the two technologies developed alongside each other.

 

I am not a Hollywood guy by any means, nor do I buy the "common wisdom" demonstrated in any movies.

 

For one thing I never said that a knight could not get up if thrown off the horse. Unless it was a particularly inflexible piece of tournament armor designed for maximum protection. However, you could not remount in full gothic plate, not because of the weight, but because joints simply aren't flexible enough. A suit of plate designed for battle allowed just enough flexibility to swing a sword and maneuver a shield and a lance. You could not go running around in it and it still weighed a lot to be worn over long periods of time. Not to mention extensive maintenance to keep the rust out.

 

Secondly, suits of armor designed for battle never had any sort of visor. It's posh and foolish to allow such a great vulnerability in a a piece of armor which was supposed to stop lance thrusts.

 

Thirdly, arrows. Full plate knight could shrug of a volley from archers, sure. But at close range 110+ lbf needle-head arrow or a crossbow bolt will run through any armor. So a lone knight pitted against a lone archer would soon become a pincushion. That's exactly the type of situations we are talking about in PE.

 

Lastly, full plate appeared by the end of 14th century. Handguns before 15th century were more of a practical joke, than an actual weapon and they weren't used in armies. Even the arquebus in the 15th century was more about smoke than stopping power, since it often could not reliablypenetrate plate armor. After the muskets were introduced full plate armor became useless and was worn only as a decor by high-ranking officers or officials or during tournaments. Look at how cuirassiers shed their armor from three quarters in 16 century to breastplate and helmet in the 18th.

Edited by Heresiarch
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My thinking is... all fantasy games ever made have been pretty wrong about armor (and probably most fantasy novels too)

 

D&D wholesale imported only the armor types found historically (although it might have embelleshed a little on reality). Armor is usually designed to defeat the weapons of the day, but most fantasy games exist in a world where trolls, dragons, and many other non-human opponents exist and have existed throughout the world's history. Plate armor is great for stopping slashing swords and arrows, but what about the snapping jaws of a dragon or a troll's massive club? I'd love to see some creativity in new armor types whose design reflects the existence of these types of threats. Maybe the armor you use for hunting dragons is extremely specialized very light armor with flame resistant properties?

 

What we need to do is expand upon the idea of dodging. Instead of dodging being just another bonus to AC, it should be its own type of defense. In the midst of a pitched battlefield, you want the plate armor to stop the stray arrows and sword slashes, but when up against big gribblies you should definitely be ready to dive out of the way (at least partially). So armor adds some encumberance, and makes it harder to dodge, but additional skills/training could make it easier to dodge while wearing armor. A mage could wear full plate but would be less nimble on his feet than a fighter wearing the same.

 

Which armor you choose could very well depend on what quest you were undertaking. Think you'll be fighting bandits? Maybe bump up the armor a bit. Fighting trolls? Better be lighter on your feet. To balance things out, dodging wouldn't work very well (if at all) against arrows and other fast moving human weapons. So there would be times when you'd want your mage to armor up for a big battle, just to make sure he stays alive. This also makes room for "middle ground" armors, that you might want to wear when you're just not sure what you'll face.

 

All of this detail points towards one thing... a two-phase hit detection process. Step 1 - figure out if the target is hit. This is where dodging comes into play. Step 2 - figure out if some/all of the damage is absorbed. This is where the armor "takes the edge off" of the hit.

 

I'd love to see combat messaging saying, "A kobold fires its short bow. Minsc fails to avoid the arrow, but it glances harmlessly off of his plate armor." This indicates a failed dodge/armor blocked all damage message.

 

This would make combat a lot of fun. Different attacks could have different attributes. Some attacks could greatly penetrate armor but be easier to dodge. Arrows would be tough to dodge but have lower armor penetration, so they'd always tend to target lightly armored individuals. Ranged attack specialists might carry a bow and a high powered crossbow, for targets with a lot of armor to get through. Fighters would choose different melee weapons depending on their opponents. Big enemies would not be very apt at dodging, but very powerful weapons would be needed to get through for enough damage for them to care.

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Upgraded base types and cultural flavors

I think that armors should be varied and definitely have various cultural flavors within the game. And I think that these various 'flavors' of armors should be adjusted versions of the base armors, that you can then enchant in a forge or the like. This gives that nice feeling of, you've managed to fight through an ancient ruin and found an excellent nonmagical leather armor, one created using leatherworking styles and craftmanship that no longer exists, one that's still in prime condition after hundreds of years in this... This tomb.

I agree. It would be really nice to have a choice of your armor's appearance. The same plate mail game mechanic item in the Free Palatinate of Dyrwood should look different from the same item (mechanically) in the White Marches. That way, each player can customize their character based on what armor is visually appealing to their personal tastes.

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Thirdly, arrows. Full plate knight could shrug of a volley from archers, sure. But at close range 110+ lbf needle-head arrow or a crossbow bolt will run through any armor. So a lone knight pitted against a lone archer would soon become a pincushion. That's exactly the type of situations we are talking about in PE.

 

And this is based on what? any sources, tests?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3997HZuWjk

 

In many tests you can see the archers claim "clear penetration", but I am yet to see an arrow go far enough to pierce through the padding underneath and to do any kind of real damage to the flesh.

 

A lone knight would stomp the lone archer into the ground most likely.

Edited by Merlkir
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I am not a Hollywood guy by any means, nor do I buy the "common wisdom" demonstrated in any movies.

 

For one thing I never said that a knight could not get up if thrown off the horse. Unless it was a particularly inflexible piece of tournament armor designed for maximum protection. However, you could not remount in full gothic plate, not because of the weight, but because joints simply aren't flexible enough. A suit of plate designed for battle allowed just enough flexibility to swing a sword and maneuver a shield and a lance. You could not go running around in it and it still weighed a lot to be worn over long periods of time. Not to mention extensive maintenance to keep the rust out.

 

Secondly, suits of armor designed for battle never had any sort of visor. It's posh and foolish to allow such a great vulnerability in a a piece of armor which was supposed to stop lance thrusts.

 

Thirdly, arrows. Full plate knight could shrug of a volley from archers, sure. But at close range 110+ lbf needle-head arrow or a crossbow bolt will run through any armor. So a lone knight pitted against a lone archer would soon become a pincushion. That's exactly the type of situations we are talking about in PE.

 

Lastly, full plate appeared by the end of 14th century. Handguns before 15th century were more of a practical joke, than an actual weapon and they weren't used in armies. Even the arquebus in the 15th century was more about smoke than stopping power, since it often could not reliablypenetrate plate armor. After the muskets were introduced full plate armor became useless and was worn only as a decor by high-ranking officers or officials or during tournaments. Look at how cuirassiers shed their armor from three quarters in 16 century to breastplate and helmet in the 18th.

Knight in full plate can't mount a horse? No visors on helmets? Unstoppable armor-piercing arrows?

0472cf5714.jpg

Seriously, dude. Do some research before posting.

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I made a post regarding this in the Armor Class thread. Essentially, I believe all armor should be viable. This could be done in a number of ways. I suggested varying reduction/deflection values and weight/rigidity related armor penalties. This should not be like Fallout where everyone just tries to get Power Armor and calls it a day.

 

As far as enchantment goes, I think it is a mistake to go with a system that says hide < leather vest < leather armor, etc. When you do this, you end up with just 3 or 4 viable armor types (the best light, the best medium and the best heavy etc). This ends up being just as bad as dnd where many armors were crappy. You might say, well, what about Dragon Hide or some such (ie, special versions of crappy armor types)? Well, who is to say they will not also include special versions of good armor types as well?

 

I would hope they would shoot for a wider variety of options and look to maintain the viability of as many character concepts as possible. The BASE versions of all armors should be GOOD. A level ONE character should be able to function just as well in one armor type as another if built for it. I, for one, like the look of scale or a breastplate. I would like to see those be competitive options rather than see my mobile fighter resort to fighting in full plate with a close helm and mitten guants.

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FIrst two are...how to say it, largely irrelevant. First one is horrible stage combat and the second is SCA, which is very much a sport. Hammaborg guys do good stuff.

 

It was meant as inspirational mostly, when I see them move it looks to me that there is some effort, some hindrance to their speed. The instruction videos (Gladitoria, part 2 or 3) the instructor says "You are restricted in armor".

 

EDIT: The combat animations in P:E are going to be staged, choreographed, if you will.

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By stage combat I mean "combat as movie makers think combat looked", ie. slow telegraphed attacks, edge parries etc.

 

And of course you're restricted in armor in a certain way, depending on how well it's crafted. Good armour for example doesn't restrict at all, or nearly so. (just watch the video I posted, where the guy shows how flexible the armor is. You couldn't move or bend a foot as much as the armor does.)

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[edit: the video also neatly shows how small the links of very high quality mail were and how tightly it was woven. (around 9:20) As the guy says "You can't even prick it with a needle.". Very much unlike all the crappy "replicas" one sees today, with massive rings.

Great video. I personally think the best scene starts at 34 minutes where the curator of the Wallace collection shows off what he can do in a suit of real full plate made specifically to fit him. Like it would have been done when people actually used this armor for real. It makes many very stupid notions like "full plate should have a dex penalty" look downright childish.

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Knight in full plate can't mount a horse? No visors on helmets? Unstoppable armor-piercing arrows?

0472cf5714.jpg

Seriously, dude. Do some research before posting.

Once again I can't say if people are trolling...

 

Is this picture supposed to be an evidence of something? Because the armor looks nothing like gothic plate and it has a face guard, which real combat plate armor never sported. If you at least saw a suit of plate not to mention wear one you would realize that mounting a horse in it is like trying to land a 767 without any training.

 

Thirdly, arrows. Full plate knight could shrug of a volley from archers, sure. But at close range 110+ lbf needle-head arrow or a crossbow bolt will run through any armor. So a lone knight pitted against a lone archer would soon become a pincushion. That's exactly the type of situations we are talking about in PE.

 

And this is based on what? any sources, tests?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3997HZuWjk

 

In many tests you can see the archers claim "clear penetration", but I am yet to see an arrow go far enough to pierce through the padding underneath and to do any kind of real damage to the flesh.

 

A lone knight would stomp the lone archer into the ground most likely.

Numerous historical accounts. They have a lot more weight than a video some guy posted on YouTube. For one thing plate armor has many weaker points than the breastplate. Secondly, I doubt they smelted steel and forged the armor the way it was done back in the middle ages. It also looks like steel rather than wrought iron, so it would be a really high-end piece anyways. Thirdly, their weapons are not an accurate representation of crossbows at the time. At point blank range an arrow from a bow or a crossbow with about 150 lbf could easily pierce any contemporary armor.

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1. I posted a video made by a frickin' museum where a guy in a custom tailored piece of armor shows how easy it is to mount a horse! Jesus.

2. It's not "just some video on youtube", it's a documentary made by Mike Loades, a learned gentleman and an overall awesome chap. Who also falls from a horse in armour, on purpose, for the cameras.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMuNXWFPewg

 

And of course, they got an expert smith to craft the armor the same way it was done in the past (you can see that video in related videos) and of course the arrow is as close to the real thing as we can get.

3. Armor was usually not made from wrought iron (if possible), but from steel indeed. Hardening of steel was a known process, so there wasn't a reason not to harden armour.

 

As this article says:

The amount of knowledge we have gained on the physical aspects of armor and its heat treating over the past two decades has drastically changed our concept of what armor is and how it was made. Steel was the material of choice, not iron.

 

http://www.oakeshott.org/metal.html

 

4. We don't have anything but your word for the claim on armour piercing. Sorry, I'll take the word of experts (in quite a few articles and books I linked to) and the results of these tests I also linked to over the word of some dude on the internet. (to use your phrasing)

5. I would VERY much like to have some of the sources quoted, which you speak of. You know, the ones where it says plate armour was pierced by arrows.

6. I HAVE worn plate armour, so keep the patronizing tone to yourself, please.

 

I think it's you who should be under serious suspicion of trolling, your ignorance seems quite extensive.

Edited by Merlkir
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I think it's you who should be under serious suspicion of trolling, your ignorance seems quite extensive.

 

Medieval history was a passing passion for me, so I wouldn't remember the sources even if I tried to. Then again it was contemporary accounts, rather than videos from fine gentlemen, falling from a horse in plate armor, so I would give them more credit. Scholarly articles are the best, grated, but I am yet to encounter any of those titled "On the piercing of plate armor by English warbow at point blank range", so I can't present anything of that sort to support my case.

 

So I suppose I'll have to conclude our argument with saying that your ignorance and trust in self-proclaimed experts, posting videos on YouTube, is so unashamed and appalling, that it must take the simple lack of knowledge to a whole new level.

 

Now when this rather heated argument is done for, I'll get to the point I was trying to make in the first place. Realistically, plate armor is history once muskets come into play. Realistically, plate armor is only fit for battlefield situations, not for running around a town or forest or for doing any travelling in it. But we are talking about a fantasy game here, so we shouldn't put too much stock in realism.

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Some logic will help usually when you think which claims have basis in reality and which are probably fiction.

 

For example, why people would use armour that don't really protect against one of common weapons on battlefield and which causes them lose much of their ability to fight and which is also most expensive armour in market?

 

And one thing what people also should remember about full plates is that there were battle, ceremonial and jousting version of them. Jousting version of full plates were much heavier and they didn't had same agility as battle and ceremonial versions.

 

Example about jousting armour

 

Example of battlefield version of full plate

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