Player-facing Damage Reduction (Homebrew d20 System) - RPG Crossing
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:10 PM
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Player-facing Damage Reduction (Homebrew d20 System)

Hey all, I am working on my own game system (for now consider it a general d20 system) and I was ginning up a damage reduction rule that players can use when they get hit.

As the armor system stands currently each point of Armor your character wears makes You roll to dodge/defend against an enemy's static attack score in this game system.avoiding damage easier for your character. Armor here is, however, less focused around scaling to plate mail. A character can salvage pelts (+1), a mail shirt (+2), leather gloves (+1) and a wooden bucket helm (+1) if they want and gain the bonus for all of it so long as Like wearing two helmets.nothing clashes and they can Each point of armor uses up 1 inventory slot, so fully armored characters will be realistically encumbered by their armor.feasibly carry it all.

The idea is to allow characters to sacrifice their Armor score to reduce damage, either at an equal 1 for 1, or a 1 point for 2 damage reduction scale. The health system is Player characters ranging from 5 to 20 hp in most scenarios, the average being more around 10.fairly low scale too. I foresee this as being invaluable during clutch moments where a character might go down.

So, the questions:
  1. How do you feel about sacrificing your armor to survive an encounter?
  2. I feel armor being sundered is quite realistic. Do you think it is non-sensical, an only-in-games-would-this-happen sort of mechanic?
  3. Does this sort of thing give you any ideas of your own that you would try as a character that adheres to this sort of rule?

 
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:47 PM
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I have played several games that employ damage reduction (DR) via armor. And they are all... tricky to run.

The main problem is that in order for weapons to be threatening against plate armor, you have to scale up the damage they can do. But scaled up damage, particularly when amplified by a critical hit, can insta-kill low level characters with no (or only light) armor. It's so tricky to balance. In fact, I've never seen a game system that did it well.

I understand the urge to make armor more realistic. But there's a reason why WotC removed DR from D&D.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:50 PM
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Reading through your notes, I see this as a viable means of using armor, but it entirely depends on other mechanics included in the game. Most notably, it depends on the availability of repairs or replacement armor, and the cost to do so. If the damage or destruction of the armor can help a character better survive the encounter, and that survival will allow them to return to a safe place where they can rectify the situation, it's a worthwhile investment. If it means that the character is likely to face a long day of fighting without the armor afterwards, it becomes a much more difficult decision.

So:

1) it depends on how many encounters I'm expecting to face
2) sundering armor is a part of some game systems. The exact mechanics vary. I think it is a sensible action in games where damaging the enemy's armor sufficiently alters the balance of survivability. If I can get a greater effect out of swinging once at the armor and once (maybe twice) at the enemy than just swinging at the person the whole time, it can be a good choice. One must consider their own ability to weather a counterattack in this calculus.
3) it would entirely depend on the rest of the tone of the game. If there is magic to repair armor quickly, it could be a great option. A master magical armorsmith who wades into the frontlines of battle could be fun. On the other hand, a two-weapon warrior with one weapon that is especially good at cleaving armor and another that is less effective against armored foes and better at striking their unprotected soft bits, that could also be fun.
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:15 PM
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Thanks for the commentary Ziether!

1. Answering how many encounters that would be faced in a standard group is a hard one... mostly because that is almost entirely based on player courageousness! As a DM I would estimate my own players find themselves engaging in combat around three times before they are able to reach a settlement, with other sorts of events and interactions mixed in. Most of the time the party are at least half tapped out, if not fully, by the time they reach town.

I estimate the choice to use this ability in a clutch moment would appear about two times during that stretch.

This estimate falls over when considering outland and enemy territory journeys however, where friendly settlements are less common. They'd need a good mender in their party at that point!

2. I wasn't really thinking much about sundering enemy armor at this point, but that'd likely come up! For now I'll keep to a player rules focus since the system is still in infancy but I'll keep that in mind.

Maybe I could make certain weapons better at armor damage...

3. For repairs on the road, I would allow any player character to attempt to fix armor during camp if they had the tools in their inventory with an INT check (with a bonus if their character is skilled in repairs). Paying for repairs in town would be automatic success at a cost, but camp work could help keep characters 'afloat' on armor.

In terms of magic though, spells of that sort will definitely need to be worked out. In combat I'd only really want reinforcement magics in effect since repairing something should take time, even with magic, in my mind. So I'd keep magical repair an at-camp thing, but with greater effect than mundane repairs.
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