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How would you improve armors?


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A lot of discussion threads seem to conclude that armors is one of the most useless card types in the game currently, which makes Armored Valeros a pretty bad alt. If you were given the chance to improve how armors worked... how would you do it?

Edited by jumpthegun
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Armor just tends to be highly situational. If Valeros had a larger hand size, holding on to an armor to prevent a hand wipe could be beneficial.

That being said Paizo also realized this to an extent. Especially in Wrath of the Righteous where if you don't have armor you are going to encounter a number of hand wipes.

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Right now, Armors 1) only work when you fail, and 2) only help reduce the penalty of failure. Even with those in mind, they don't do a good job of their only job.

 

For 1), they don't help you fail less often, they help you not fail as hard. In a game where you want to succeed as often as possible (go figure), putting cards in your deck to help mitigate failures is betting against your success. Additionally, each card that doesn't help you succeed more often clogs up your deck, making failure *more* likely.

 

For 2), they are far too specific (in most cases) to fit the variety of situations present in adventures. By the second or third adventure path, Combat Damage is a rarity; most enemies deal elemental damage, unavoidable damage, Force damage, etc. This makes the vast majority of armors relatively useless. Most armors do have the ability to banish (bury with proficiency) to completely negate damage, but this only works once per adventure. How many other cards do y'all put in your decks that you only plan to use once? Lastly, many later enemies do multiple iterations of damage, damage of multiple types, or are found in locations or adventures that have damaging effects that happen along with the monster's own damage. In these cases, armors really become useless, as they can only stop one iteration of damage (as most that are capable of helpful damage reduction [read: not Combat damage] require recharging, discarding, etc.).

 

Arguably, the best thing armors have going for them is that the magic versions can be cycled at the end of the turn. Tell me - how great can a card be when the best part of it is that you can get rid of it after it has proven useless?

 

When it comes to damage mitigation, Items and Powers are the clearly better option. Sihedron Medallions are just plain better armors, and can be recycled when used by Lem, Lini, Kyra, Seoni, Ezren, Seelah, etc. They work for any type of damage (not seen on Armors until the Invincible Armor and Fortress Shield) and can take up to 4 of it (more than said shield, and equal to said armor) before being recharged with an easy check. Alternatively, Rings of Protection, Sihedron Rings, Rings of Elemental Resistance and Brooches of Shielding are absolutely fantastic items to prevent incidental damage. They only reveal, which means they cancel the danger or Enchantresses, Dragon breath attacks, Goblin Pyros/Commandos, etc. while still staying in-hand. 

 

In my humble opinion, Armors would need some way to be pro-active towards *success* in order to be made useful/interesting. If I could discard an armor to evade a combat and search again, or recharge an armor to draw a new card *before* the end of my turn, or use light/heavy armors as bonuses to dexterity/constitution saves to avoid damage, I would certainly use armors more frequently. At the moment, there are only a few armors I ever include on my party members:

  • Ebon Thorn - By far the best armor available. Why? It adds to combat and non-combat checks. Everyone has to deal with combat, and Diplomacy is a skill used to get almost every single Ally card (and most don't even have high difficulties, so +2 Diplomacy is often enough). I almost never use it to reduce damage, but tis nice to have the ability to cancel all damage once while *still* having a proactive benefit to keeping it in my hand.
  • Invigorating Shield - I can trash a useless armor to get a useful weapon back? Yes please! Again, I almost never use this to reduce damage, and more often than not recycle it at the end of the turn. This is, essentially, a Toad for non-spellcasters. It sucks when you lose your Mokmurin's Club or Flaming Glaive +3 to a random attack. This, IMO, gives your character a back-up copy.
  • Gale Armor (And Winged Shields to a lesser extent) - Moving at end of turn rocks. Ask Amiri. Recharging an otherwise-useless card to do so rocks.
  • Invincible Armor/Fortress Shield - These are the only armors that can mitigate any type of damage, and neither has to bury/banish to do it (with proficiency). These two are the only armors I ever include to do *actual armor things*. Even then, I only give this to Seelah and Valeros as a third armor after the more-useful Ebon Thorn and Invigorating Shield, because I *don't like planning on taking damage*.

I'd also give shout-outs to Legion Armor and Stell Ibis Lamellar, which I used until I could get better armor. Legion is helpful on Kyra and Seelah, but the Discard cost of the additional WIS die on combat checks was not great, and it only blocks Combat Damage. Steel Ibis Lamellar blocks very helpful elements and only needs to Reveal to do so, and can even be used to help with DEX checks, but not being able to be Recycled (and not having the ability to mitigate *all* damage in emergencies) severely limits it. Even with its great effects, I seldom want it taking up a spot in my hand.

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Yeah I think items that prevent damage > armors just because you don't have to give them a dedicated slot and you can choose whether or not to add them into the deck. Most of the time armor slots just clog the deck. I would much rather have cards that would prevent me taking damage in the first place (by helping me succeed) than cards that are purely reactionary when I fail.

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In general, the only armors I care about are the ones that _do_ something for me, and if I _happen_ to get into a situation where the 'bury to soak a ton of damage' is relevant, so much the better (Though when it IS relevant, it's often super-relevant... gorram Blue Dragon). For the most part, the only armors I keep are:

 

Ebon Thorn - As Oh_Emgee said... pretty awesome.

Snakeskin Tunic/Ophidian/Leopard Leather - Adding to any Dex check is pretty great.

Early on, Blackcloth armor is nice, depending on your playstyle.

Steel Ibis Lamellar is amazeballs, specifically because it helps with cold, electricity, fire, AND combat, and it's a reveal to reduce by 3. Especially in AD 6, where random elemental damage is splashed around like crazy. The ability to recharge for a d6 on Dex or Con is just gravy.

I'm enjoying the Fortified Breastplate, since it's got the reveal to add 3 to Fortitude checks.

Demon Armor from AD6 adds 1d4+1 and Fire/Magic to combat checks

Pelt of the Ulfen Wolf (Wolf wolf? Moon moon?) seems... meh. Recharging to add a d4 seems underwhelming, but at least it doesn't clog the hand.

 

From playing through Mummy's Mask, it appears Paizo kinda got the hint about armor, and made armors protect against elemental effects from the get-go.

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Good points in there. My favorite armours Are mentioned there and Also the armor is much more usefull in the Wrath than Runelords as it has been said. So the experiences above match my own when playing tabletop version of Runelords.

Armours that take of Many types of damage Are more usefull as well as armors that have other uses. Or the scenario / adventure has to be build so that the armor is usefull (more freguent combat damage by banes and locations)

Edited by Hannibal_PJV
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What? No mention of the Spell Ward Shield (AD 5 treasure)? Reveal to soak up 2 points of damage of ANY type. That's like 2 Rings of Protection, with the added bonus of being able to recharge it out of your hand, unlike the RoP. It definitely goes on my "nice" list for armor.

Also worth mentioning, IMO: Adamantine Plate Armor - if you're proficient in heavy armor (and if you aren't you wouldn't bother hauling this thing around anyway), it's a discard to absorb all damage (of any type!) instead of the usual bury, so it can potentially be used multiple times per adventure. A pity you have to wait until AD6 to even get a shot at getting this one.

Edited by Thyraxus
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I personally like having an armor card in hand - it prevents disasters at the inevitable times you roll 1s in all four dice... What I dislike is having more than one, a problem that is frequent with Seelah and, I guess, this new Armored Valeros. If he could only, say, recharge an armor to add 1d4 to a combat check, he would not be so prone to the multiple armors curse...

 

Cheers!

 

Mauricio

Edited by MauGibrin
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Well, armor is more or less dead card in RotR but that's because RotR for the most part is way too easy. Paizo did "fix" this issue somewhat in later Adventure Paths both by increasing difficulty so you keep armor there mostly to insure a villain doesn't discard you hand during "before you act" phase of combat.

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I will also say that Into the Eye changed all the "rules" completely. The Adamantine Plate Armor would have been incredible, especially on the higher difficulty levels. I found that I simply couldn't beat it on Legendary until I'd farmed some to get each of my people some sort of reusable 'reduce all damage by 1' or better.

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You start to see the armor bits fixed up in the Class Decks where character powers can make armors do things i.e. Dwarf Warpriest that can display armors or blessings on anyone's combat check to give +1 per card, and then can redraw those cards from display at the start of their turn if they wish. You also see a lot of armors in the CDs that have options like Legion Armor or Snakeskin where you can do other things with them. Having run all the PFS organized play seasons, armor is very useful conditionally. There are villains that will have thematic stuff before combat like everyone does a Acrobatics 12 check or take 1d4+1 acid damage. Armor is useful, just less so in Rise which we have to remember was the first try.

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You start to see the armor bits fixed up in the Class Decks where character powers can make armors do things i.e. Dwarf Warpriest that can display armors or blessings on anyone's combat check to give +1 per card, and then can redraw those cards from display at the start of their turn if they wish. You also see a lot of armors in the CDs that have options like Legion Armor or Snakeskin where you can do other things with them. Having run all the PFS organized play seasons, armor is very useful conditionally. There are villains that will have thematic stuff before combat like everyone does a Acrobatics 12 check or take 1d4+1 acid damage. Armor is useful, just less so in Rise which we have to remember was the first try.

 

Fair enough, although armor only blocking specific damage types is part of the problem. Make a reflex save or take acid damage isn't going to give incentive for armor, if it just so happens you weren't packing an acid-resistant armor card. Do later sets also make energy resistant armor more common and versatile?

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Yes, you'll see armors like crocodile skin that blocks cold, acid, combat or fire on discard for 2 or bury for 5. Other armors will change types or offer the ability to do something when using. Some armors gain a discard to prevent all at higher tiers or a recharge to add to a check like the Mardu shield which adds 1 and the piercing trait to a Melee combat.

 

Also Rise armors usually have the banish/bury to reduce all incoming damage to zero from all types.

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I think armour would be okay as it is if it didn't take up space in your hand.

So each armour feat could give the ability to have one of those types of armour cards in your hand not count towards the hand limit.

Would work thematically too, you just put on your armour and forget about it, it's there when you need it.

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I agree with the sentiment in theory and there's quite a few good points in this thread for useful armor cards. In modern RPGs armor often times adds buffs that help in combat. Having more of that of varying strengths would add some interesting options. Obviously this would probably throw off the balance since all the other cards were balanced with the current state of the armors cards in mind. There's no easier way to change that than a digital game that can easily be patched. Yes Rise of the Runelords being the first has the consequence of armors being a little less useful than later AP's. 

 

One interesting armor would be like a resurrection armor that if you died and had it in your hand you could pick yourself back up to hand size + 2 reserve cards or something.

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