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Piecemeal Armor- Still needs work?


Product Discussion


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ok, so my GM has mentioned he's considering using the piecemeal armor rules, but after some review I'm wondering if there needs to be some errata...

I notice that a chain torso armor, and steel lamellar for arms & legs seems to give an armor with +7 armor bonus, +3 max dex, and no reduction in speed. Is that right? I can't find anything that says you still get the speed reduction for medium armor- it all seems to be based on specific pieces.

All in all, I wouldn't mind if we start using the rules, but I almost feel like it would be cheating... or maybe I should just consider it a bit of a boost for the melee types?


I think a slight problem with the way people are viewing piecemeal armor is that they think they can go into a shop and buy it like normal armor. But the way I see it, it's a way for GMs to give armor pieces on the fly when you guys are out doing stuff in Dangerous Dungeon #665. Yes, there are combinations that are superior, but the GM is the final arbiter on what you get.

I like the idea of piecemeal armor, but it becomes a lot more work for the GM to decide what they find in the treasure horde. One piece for each player? A piece for the fighter and rogue, but not the cleric? So on and so on. It's kinda hard to randomly roll for it right there or decide on the fly.


I'll say it still needs work!

Notice that in granting the O-Yoroi's leg pieces a +2 bonus while everything else gets only a +1, they've made the O-Yoroi's total bonus (including the "full suit" bonus) +9 rather than the +8 it has in its listing in an earlier chapter.


ArmoredSaint wrote:

I'll say it still needs work!

Notice that in granting the O-Yoroi's leg pieces a +2 bonus while everything else gets only a +1, they've made the O-Yoroi's total bonus (including the "full suit" bonus) +9 rather than the +8 it has in its listing in an earlier chapter.

The full suit bonus in piecemeal armor is an additional +1 AC anyway, right? So it should be +9 because you have a full set? Or am I remembering it wrong?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Matt Stich wrote:
I think a slight problem with the way people are viewing piecemeal armor is that they think they can go into a shop and buy it like normal armor.

No, it's not a working system just because the GM can make up completely new rules from whole cloth (like not being able to buy perfectly mundane items) to restrict the trivially obvious abuses. As you say, piecemeal armor has issues even if it isn't overpowered. It's a whole bunch of extra bookkeeping for no realistic gain whatsoever.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Matt Stich wrote:

I think a slight problem with the way people are viewing piecemeal armor is that they think they can go into a shop and buy it like normal armor. But the way I see it, it's a way for GMs to give armor pieces on the fly when you guys are out doing stuff in Dangerous Dungeon #665. Yes, there are combinations that are superior, but the GM is the final arbiter on what you get.

I like the idea of piecemeal armor, but it becomes a lot more work for the GM to decide what they find in the treasure horde. One piece for each player? A piece for the fighter and rogue, but not the cleric? So on and so on. It's kinda hard to randomly roll for it right there or decide on the fly.

Considering the fact that is says right in the text that you can have an armorer make a suit of mixed pieces, I'm pretty sure your interpretation is the wrong one. Also, if it was supposed to only appear as treasure, some treasure tables for armor pieces would've been nice.

ArmoredSaint wrote:
Notice that in granting the O-Yoroi's leg pieces a +2 bonus while everything else gets only a +1, they've made the O-Yoroi's total bonus (including the "full suit" bonus) +9 rather than the +8 it has in its listing in an earlier chapter.

I did notice that- I'm thinking it may be errata. It also means that a plate torso with O-Yoroi arms and legs has a +10 armor bonus and +2 max dex. I found it interesting, since that's the piece of armor that the Japanese actually adopted for Nanban dou gusoku- but it should be an armor in-between O-Yoroi and plate, which isn't currently possible.

A Man in Black wrote:


No, it's not a working system just because the GM can make up completely new rules from whole cloth (like not being able to buy perfectly mundane items) to restrict the trivially obvious abuses. As you say, piecemeal armor has issues even if it isn't overpowered. It's a whole bunch of extra bookkeeping for no realistic gain whatsoever.

I can see a few minor gains. 1- you can armor up with just part of your armor when you're in a hurry. 2- you could remove only the piece with the worst check penalty in a situation where that might be useful. 3- you can make better armors :)

Now, gains 1&2 are rather situational, and thus of questionable value for the added complexity. Gain 3 is iffy, since it was probably unintentional, and some people would call it 'broken'. I like it from a game standpoint, but not a story one.

I think the system may be intended for the pirate AP, since in the movies no self-respecting pirate seems to wear a complete suit of just one type of armor. (Or maybe one of the designers REALLY likes 'The 13th Warrior'?)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I can see a few minor gains. 1- you can armor up with just part of your armor when you're in a hurry. 2- you could remove only the piece with the worst check penalty in a situation where that might be useful. 3- you can make better armors :)

The rules for hastily donned armor already exist, and are much more lightweight for basically the same benefit.

Removing part of your armor to deal with a situation where you need a lower armor check penalty is extremely situational, requires a lot of fiddly arithmetic to get a marginal benefit, and leads to unrealistic and/or farcical situations (I take off my pants to climb this wall!).

If you want to make armor better, just make it better. "In my game, medium armor gives another +1 and heavy armor gives another +2" or whatever makes you happy. This is an incredibly fiddly, space-intensive system to accomplish that goal in the most ass-backwards way possible.

Quote:
I think the system may be intended for the pirate AP, since in the movies no self-respecting pirate seems to wear a complete suit of just one type of armor.

"Bob the Pirate wears a mix of leathers and scavenged mail. This makeshift armor counts as studded leather."

"Joe the Marine wears a stripped-down suit of full plate, with many heavy or awkward pieces removed. This stripped armor counts as a breastplate."

Easy peasy.


Matt Stich wrote:
I think a slight problem with the way people are viewing piecemeal armor is that they think they can go into a shop and buy it like normal armor.

Yeah, how unreasonable of people to think that items with separate prices can be bought separately.

Matt Stich wrote:


But the way I see it, it's a way for GMs to give armor pieces on the fly when you guys are out doing stuff in Dangerous Dungeon #665. Yes, there are combinations that are superior, but the GM is the final arbiter on what you get.

What will keep a player from buying a breast plate, a whole suit of horn lamellar armour and the o-yoroi and then tossing away the parts they don't need?

Is there law that requires shopkeeps to ask people whether they are going to mix and match the stuff they're buying (you know, use the rules that the game offers) and when they say yes, refuse to sell them?

And why wouldn't the shops sell partial armour?


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
A Man In Black wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
I can see a few minor gains. 1- you can armor up with just part of your armor when you're in a hurry. 2- you could remove only the piece with the worst check penalty in a situation where that might be useful. 3- you can make better armors :)

The rules for hastily donned armor already exist, and are much more lightweight for basically the same benefit.

Removing part of your armor to deal with a situation where you need a lower armor check penalty is extremely situational, requires a lot of fiddly arithmetic to get a marginal benefit, and leads to unrealistic and/or farcical situations (I take off my pants to climb this wall!).

If you want to make armor better, just make it better. "In my game, medium armor gives another +1 and heavy armor gives another +2" or whatever makes you happy. This is an incredibly fiddly, space-intensive system to accomplish that goal in the most ass-backwards way possible.

Quote:
I think the system may be intended for the pirate AP, since in the movies no self-respecting pirate seems to wear a complete suit of just one type of armor.

"Bob the Pirate wears a mix of leathers and scavenged mail. This makeshift armor counts as studded leather."

"Joe the Marine wears a stripped-down suit of full plate, with many heavy or awkward pieces removed. This stripped armor counts as a breastplate."

Easy peasy.

I'm not saying I don't agree with you- I just said there were minor benefits, not that they were necessarily worth the extra baggage. I'm leaning towards the 'not worth it' quite a bit, even if I like the idea as a concept. There's lots of things I like conceptually for rules that I've decided just aren't worth the time.


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The piecemeal armor system is horribly, terribly broken. Do not use it. It has no function.

EDIT: If your GM does allow it, consider the following sets:

LIGHT:

Protective and Mobile:
AC +4, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -0, ASF 15%, Movement 30, 21 gp
(Lamellar curiass torso for 15, studded leather legs for 5, padded arms for 1)

MEDIUM:

Full Movement:
AC +7, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -2, ASF 35%, Movement 30, 128 gp
(Chain torso for 100, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Max Protection:
AC +8, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -5, ASF 35%, Movement 20, 48 gp
(Four-mirror armor torso for 20, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Druid Legal:
AC +5, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -2, ASF 30%, Movement 30, 38 gp
(Hide armor torso for 10, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)

HEAVY:

Protective:
AC +10, Max Dex +2, Armor Check -4, ASF 40%, Movement 20, 525 gp
(Plate torso for 200, o-yoroi legs for 300, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Protective Lower-ASF:
AC +10, Max Dex +2, Armor Check -4, ASF 30%, Movement 20, 725 gp
(Agile plate torso for 400, o-yoroi legs for 300, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Full Plate Equivalent Cheap:
AC +9, Max Dex +3, Armor Check -4, ASF 40%, Movement 20, 228 gp
(Plate torso for 200, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
see wrote:

The piecemeal armor system is horribly, terribly broken. Do not use it. It has no function.

EDIT: If your GM does allow it, consider the following sets:

LIGHT:

Protective and Mobile:
AC +4, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -0, ASF 15%, Movement 30, 21 gp
(Lamellar curiass torso for 15, studded leather legs for 5, padded arms for 1)

MEDIUM:

Full Movement:
AC +7, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -2, ASF 35%, Movement 30, 128 gp
(Chain torso for 100, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Max Protection:
AC +8, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -5, ASF 35%, Movement 20, 48 gp
(Four-mirror armor torso for 20, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Druid Legal:
AC +5, Max Dex +4, Armor Check -2, ASF 30%, Movement 30, 38 gp
(Hide armor torso for 10, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)

HEAVY:

Protective:
AC +10, Max Dex +2, Armor Check -4, ASF 40%, Movement 20, 525 gp
(Plate torso for 200, o-yoroi legs for 300, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Protective Lower-ASF:
AC +10, Max Dex +2, Armor Check -4, ASF 30%, Movement 20, 725 gp
(Agile plate torso for 400, o-yoroi legs for 300, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Full Plate Equivalent Cheap:
AC +9, Max Dex +3, Armor Check -4, ASF 40%, Movement 20, 228 gp
(Plate torso for 200, hide legs for 3, horn lamellar arms for 25)

Yeah, the more I look at it, the more I think I'm going to recommend that he not bother with it. Especially after seeing those. :P

I hadn't even bothered to investigate things like horn lamellar or hide, but I just can't get on board with a system that makes such objectively awful armors useful. I tend not to worry about realism too much, but I still have my limits- and this just gets silly.


Yeah it's silly.
95% of the armor pieces for arms and legs are totally obsolete.

Unless you can only wear light armor, you won't ever wear one of the +0 arm pieces. Anyone else is stupid to wear anything but a Lamellar, horn one, because it's obviously better than everything else.
Legs: Studded armor is nearly the same as Hide and it's light. All other except o-yoroi is for the trash bin again.

While you might argue that "it looks stupid, I want my character to look nice", you can argue that when everyone buys a certain combination, then armorsmiths start making them in sets already.
I mean, what armorsmith would make a full suit of plate armor, if the legs and gauntlets NEVER get sold. Might make one or two then realises it.
So he'll build suits containing a breastplate, o-yoroi legs and horn lamellar arms, and build it in such a way that it actually looks like they were meant to be worn together.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I think I would only use it if I wanted my character to have a single piece of armor that looked cool. Like Van's armor sleeve in the Escaflowne movie.


Allia Thren wrote:


I mean, what armorsmith would make a full suit of plate armor, if the legs and gauntlets NEVER get sold. Might make one or two then realises it.

Exactly. Even if he won't sell them piecemeal (which in this case wouldn't make sense, since the piecemeal armour rules say that breastplate is "full plate torso", so it is sold separately, but let's ignore that), people will probably never take anything but the torso, and that will make a decent smith think.

"What is wrong with the rest of my armour?"

Allia Thren wrote:


So he'll build suits containing a breastplate, o-yoroi legs and horn lamellar arms, and build it in such a way that it actually looks like they were meant to be worn together.

This. Nothing else makes sense. Someone comes up with something that is a lot better than the status quo AND costs less, it spreads like wildfire, and before you know it everyone uses the new thing.


I've written an addon for the Piecemeal Armor variant here: Piecemeal Armor

The changes address most of the imbalance issues and cover the exceptional cases of Half-Plate, Chain Shirt, and Breastplate in a more balanced fashion.


Does any of this take into account the Gladiator archetype from Ultimate Combat? It says, "...a gladiator using piecemeal armor is considered to be wearing a suit of armor as long as he wearing two or three armor pieces, gaining the +1 to armor bonus but still taking the +5% chance of arcane spell failure if the pieces are mixed."

I have yet to figure out any two-piece combination that benefits a high Dex build. Am I missing something, or is piecemeal even more flawed when doing a two piece build over a three piece build?


GrayPockets wrote:

I've written an addon for the Piecemeal Armor variant here: Piecemeal Armor

The changes address most of the imbalance issues and cover the exceptional cases of Half-Plate, Chain Shirt, and Breastplate in a more balanced fashion.

Sorry to necro the post. But I am interested in your variant rules and the link is broken.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Piecemeal armor will never work unless or until you also use localised hits with every melee or ranged attack in the game.

I recall having to keep track of your armor level on different parts of the body in both ICE/MERP and Runequest. Both were really cumbersome systems, and lead to rampant player death and incapacitation. The ICE/MERP rules for critical hits were particularly grievous. Believe me, you really didn't want to get in combat with those systems.

So I have some advice:
1) Don't use eastern armor types unless your characters are adventuring in Tian, or from there. It's particularly silly.
2) Don't use the piecemeal armor rules, they are ill-considered and poorly written up.
3) If you must mix and match armor types, simply try to work out an average value between the two (or more) sets of armor involved.

Pathfinder is full of abstractions. Hit points and armor class top the list of vague, generalized abstractions. Just go with the flow and use standard rules for both. And forget called shots, too. <g>


Wheldrake wrote:

Piecemeal armor will never work unless or until you also use localised hits with every melee or ranged attack in the game.

I recall having to keep track of your armor level on different parts of the body in both ICE/MERP and Runequest. Both were really cumbersome systems, and lead to rampant player death and incapacitation. The ICE/MERP rules for critical hits were particularly grievous. Believe me, you really didn't want to get in combat with those systems.

So I have some advice:
1) Don't use eastern armor types unless your characters are adventuring in Tian, or from there. It's particularly silly.
2) Don't use the piecemeal armor rules, they are ill-considered and poorly written up.
3) If you must mix and match armor types, simply try to work out an average value between the two (or more) sets of armor involved.

Pathfinder is full of abstractions. Hit points and armor class top the list of vague, generalized abstractions. Just go with the flow and use standard rules for both. And forget called shots, too. <g>

Thanks for the advice. After a couple of hours trying to figure out a system I decided to skip official Paizo's gladiator archetype feature "consider full set of armor with only 2 pieces".

I am just giving them full mobility in medium armor (for the lack of armor in the legs being still a full set).

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