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Variant Rule: Armor as DR


Advice


Does the version form Ult Combat work? I am thinking about implementing it in my game but I would like to know more about it from people who have tried it. What possible house rules have been implemented by those who have tried it and found flaws?

- J


The rules only really work for humanoid on humanoid. I spent several weeks working on improving the rules, but when I got to the Bestiaries that is where things break down. Monsters don't wear armor and it is often unfair to judge this between their touch AC and actual AC when performing the conversions. It could be done but it would end up being a heck of a lot of work when what it really needs is a whole new system. Hackmaster (5th Ed) has rules around this that are built around AC and DR to begin with -- downside, their DMG isn't out yet and a lot of the content needed to run a game is in there.


Patricius wrote:
The rules only really work for humanoid on humanoid. I spent several weeks working on improving the rules, but when I got to the Bestiaries that is where things break down. Monsters don't wear armor and it is often unfair to judge this between their touch AC and actual AC when performing the conversions. It could be done but it would end up being a heck of a lot of work when what it really needs is a whole new system. Hackmaster (5th Ed) has rules around this that are built around AC and DR to begin with -- downside, their DMG isn't out yet and a lot of the content needed to run a game is in there.

If I recall right, monsters' natural armor is converted to DR as well, not just armor.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Patricius wrote:
The rules only really work for humanoid on humanoid. I spent several weeks working on improving the rules, but when I got to the Bestiaries that is where things break down. Monsters don't wear armor and it is often unfair to judge this between their touch AC and actual AC when performing the conversions. It could be done but it would end up being a heck of a lot of work when what it really needs is a whole new system. Hackmaster (5th Ed) has rules around this that are built around AC and DR to begin with -- downside, their DMG isn't out yet and a lot of the content needed to run a game is in there.
If I recall right, monsters' natural armor is converted to DR as well, not just armor.

Yeah, your correct about that. Still could be a hassle to check I imagine until you get used to it.

- J


I'm using Armor as DR and Class-Based defense bonuses in the playtest of several new classes and rules for my own nefarious purposes, and so far they're working out okay.

Speaking as someone who has actually put on armor and shields and used them to keep the other guy from knocking me right the heck out, I have a bit of fiddling to do with whether or not shields or parrying weapons give DR or DEF, but beyond that, they're pretty solid in my estimation.

My game world is very monster light, mind you, so conversions are simple when they occur.


I think it would be best if you used this rule, before game time go through and make new stat blocks for a few monsters.

Furthermore it will change a few properties in the systems. Generally speaking an attack bonus is worth more than a damage. With drastically lower AC's, higher and stacking DR's, your players are going to shift their martial capacity towards higher damage.

Furthermore Paladins will become gods as they can bypass even DR/-. Soooo... watch out for the paladin of torag dude.

Generally this means less damage/hit but more hits. With all the bonus DR/- monks and TWF's are going to have a much harder time since they won't have anyway to bypass all this. So monks and the traditional rogue, as well as a few fighters and rangers are shot.

Archery is going to be more powerful than ever with clustered shot.

Beyond that looks pretty good :) have fun

Qadira

You may want to refer to Iron Heroes and Hackmaster Basic, systems built on the 3.5 and 1st Edition chassis respectively: each takes a slightly different approach to armor providing DR. Iron Heroes treats shields (and natural armor bonuses) as adding to AC instead: Hackmaster Basic treats natural armor as DR and allows shields to augment defense and boost DR, but any super-solid hit from an enemy is going to mangle the shield beyond use (so porting this form of shields into Pathfinder will add to the already-considerable value of the make whole spell.)


Thomas Long 175 wrote:

I think it would be best if you used this rule, before game time go through and make new stat blocks for a few monsters.

Furthermore it will change a few properties in the systems. Generally speaking an attack bonus is worth more than a damage. With drastically lower AC's, higher and stacking DR's, your players are going to shift their martial capacity towards higher damage.

Furthermore Paladins will become gods as they can bypass even DR/-. Soooo... watch out for the paladin of torag dude.

Generally this means less damage/hit but more hits. With all the bonus DR/- monks and TWF's are going to have a much harder time since they won't have anyway to bypass all this. So monks and the traditional rogue, as well as a few fighters and rangers are shot.

Archery is going to be more powerful than ever with clustered shot.

Beyond that looks pretty good :) have fun

Funny you mention the Monk, because my Setting doesn't allow for them, lol. Though the rogue part does concern me....and by the way, what fighter types become shot?

- J


As written, the rules make it nearly impossible for some monsters to damage some characters. For example, a Xill can never roll high enough damage to get through the DR provided by Full Plate. If a level 1 Commoner managed to get a hold of Full Plate, he could -- by himself -- slaughter hundreds of Xill given enough time.

From play testing, I think the size category to bypass DR is a little wonky as well. Larger size category means higher strength and weapon damage to begin with, so I feel like they're essentially accounting for the ability of large creatures to break through DR/armor twice. At the very least, I think that rule should be based on relative size category; armor for a diminutive creature likely does not resist attacks from a medium creature as well as armor for a medium creature.

I've heard a lot of good things about the Armor as DR system in the Conan d20 system from Mongoose Publishing. I've read over it, though I haven't play tested it yet. It sounds pretty good. Basically, weapons have an Armor Piercing stat (which is modified by your strength), which allows you to halve your opponent's DR from Armor. Also, everyone can use Weapon Finesse as the feat, and when doing so can manage to avoid DR from Armor entirely if the attack roll is high enough.


Odion41 wrote:

Funny you mention the Monk, because my Setting doesn't allow for them, lol. Though the rogue part does concern me....and by the way, what fighter types become shot?

- J

There are TWF fighters you know :P There is an archetype dedicated to it.


These Conan D20 rules are AMAZING! I will have to try these in trials to see how much number fenegeling needs to be done to get it right. ZZT, you sir are a gentleman and a scholar and I thank you! *Bows Graciously*

- J


In regards to the "heavy armor makes it really hard to bust through DR" issue, I've found that adopting the Star Wars Saga RPG rule of "You get half your level added to your damage" tends to mitigate this quite nicely. It also dovetails in well in game worlds with low magic, a lack of magic items, or the like. I wouldn't recommend it in a game with lots of magic that increases stats or damage, but it works well in low- to mid- buff games just fine.


I've GMed a game for several months in which we've used the DR system. Most of the players are okay with it, or don't care either way, and one downright hates it.

There are things I like and dislike about it. I've always liked the idea of DR while wearing armor as it just makes more sense to me. I know, I know, its supposed to be abstract but I've always liked it.

A single boss creature can survive more than a round or two using the DR system, so that's fun.

You hit far more often in this system as your defense is very low. On the one hand it lets players hit more often and feel like they're actually accomplishing something but there's the drawback that they're not doing a great deal of damage either. Some people like hitting more often just because they get to hit, while others don't mind missing more often and doing lots of damage when they do hit.

Two-handed fighters are even more powerful in this system as they spike a single jolt of damage that allows them to do more actual damage once the DR is subtracted. This system basically hoses a normal two-weapon fighter as they might hit three times but are doing only one or two points of damage each time.

As you get into higher levels you end up encountering creatures that are large enough to bypass your DR. So the enemy never misses and does horrendous damage to you but while the whole party is whacking at them the actual damage output if quite low.

Energy damage is almost a must in this system as it allows you to bypass DR. Two-weapon fighters find this basically a requirement to do any damage.

The Crit system is just...wonky. We end up having to pause at each crit to try and remember exactly how that works. So that's a pain.

Overall its an interesting idea but I think it just doesn't quite work. We've given it a shot but I think the cons outweigh the pros for it and I'm going to have a chat with my players. I think we'll end up reverting to the normal system.


At low lvls Dr makes certain animals obsolete. Such as the ones can only do 1 damage but have poison. As long as your wearing padded armor.


I do have one thing that is holding me up right now, how to measure the idea of trained defensive techniques? In the Conan variant (which is awesome!) anybody trained in a class have a base defense bonus to help them survive longer in combat, and, I believe, to give a reason for normal BAB to exist under this variant. In this though, the defense is split between a dodge (ranged and melee) or parry (melee or ranged provided you hold a shield) bonus that allows you to counteract the BAB of others.

So, my question is...

What should be a passive defense bonus progression?

I know that Unearthed Arcana has a Defense Bonus progression for 3.5 and I am tempted to use it as it's not really impractical...but, what do you guys think?

- J


Odion41 - The base system I use for my game and project comes out of the 3.5 rules, and works pretty well. Classes get their base defense bonus that increases as they go up in level, armor check penalties factor in to this (although I'm currently fiddling with it to make it a bit less lopsided on some armor types), and Shields can be used as either DR or DEF during a round, but not both.

Using the "1/2 level to damage" rule from SW:SE helps out a lot against the higher DR's one might run into. Keep in mind that I'm not running a game with prevalent magic items, casters, or crazy monsters - the game is pretty much person-to-person conflict, so the PC's deal with other humans, demi-humans, and the like. In that regard, it works pretty well, we've found. We haven't run into a problem with two-weapon fighters, nor have we run into much in the way of characters feeling like they're ineffective in combat.

Unfortunately all the tiny fiddly modifications we have are not in an easily digestible format, yet. But they're all pretty common sense (most of them listed above, actually), so they can be easily replicated with a little thought.


I've been toying with some armor as DR ideas myself for a while now... for me the ideal way to do it is to go back to the slashing/piercing/bludgeoning gamage types and have DR apply to each separately depending on what kind of armor is worn or the nature of the creature (skeleton vs. zombie) but that is just so much work.

Another aspect I've been toying with is, rather than 1/2 damage bonus per level, a damage bonus equal to the character's BAB - as well as an AC bonus equal to the character's BAB - but then, we run a fairly low-magic campaign.


My preliminary ideas are such: Use the Class-Based Defense bonus for a passive AC+Shield+Misc. Mods-Armor Check Penalty, with two ways to bypass DR through either strength or dexterity.

The Strength option for bypassing armor is to use the Strength Bonus as a static Armor Pen. This allows for stronger characters to shred through armor, which stays true to real life. This Strength based static AP mainly applies to most martial weapons, so most fighters and martial characters should not really have a problem with this. Strength based fighters can also damage the opponents armor and reduce its effectiveness during combat. To reduce the effectiveness a combatant only needs score either a confirmed critical on an Atk roll or cause over 20 points of damage in a single strike, either of these will reduce the DR of an armor by 1d4 until repaired by a suitable spell or craftsman. The damaging armor part comes from the Conan rules and I think it reflects the fact the a critical or major hit WILL hurt you and ALL of the stuff attached to you!

However, for TWFs and Dex based combatants I will borrow from Conan with one added extra. Certain weapons are designated Finesse weapons, such as knives and most light weapons. These weapons will bypass DR provided their Atk Roll beats the total defense by the DR provided by the opponents armor(s). However, these weapons cannot damage their opponents armor critical or not and never use their strength bonus to bypass DR. The use of finesse rules for normally strength based weapons is only usable through the use of the Weapon Finesse feat.

However, Magic and Adamantine weapons still cut through nonmagical armor as per the vanilla variant rules.

I think its all in there...comments? Things I possibly left out or problems foreseeable?

- J


If you're going to allow damage to deteriorate armor, I'd suggest you look into the "Staged Penetration" rules from the Cyberpunk/Mekton/Interlock family of games. It will take a LOT to fit those to pfrpg, though.

Here's a quick list of the fiddly bits (off the top of my head and off this handy sheet of paper) for my playtest rules:

- Nothing "bypasses" DR. It's called damage reduction for a reason. It reduces damage. *Footnote - should "hard" armor add a bonus to Fortitude saves against crushing damage? Or is that too much work? What would "soft" armor benefit?

- Some weapons are armor piercing and can *reduce* DR. *footnote, consider swapping out the X4 crit weapons to make them AP weapons. one or the other, not both.*

- Shields grant either DR or DEF but not both.

- ARMORED DEFENSE is (Class DEF + DEX + MISC + SIZE - ACP + 10). So a CLASS DEF of 4 + DEX 2 + MISC 0 + SIZE 1 - ACP 1 + 10 = Armored DEF 16

- Touch DEF and Flat Footed DEF should work fairly normally. *footnote, seems to do so, so far.

- Add 1/2 level to damage done (per SW:SE) to accommodate for higher DR's and higher DEF on upper tier opponents. *footnote, apply this to ranged damage as well.

There are more, but those are the ones I was able to cobble together into something legible.

Lantern Lodge

I like the DR armor variant rule because it makes for tougher encounters when fighting things like Dragons with high Nat Armor. It also puts a stop to zerg rule with the Leadership feat if u allow it. Under normal conditions a party could have there 500+ lv 1 followers attack and slay a dragon because of nat 20s. Under DR rules since dragons have so much nat armor the tactic becomes invalid since even on the nat 20s they cant get through the DR. Also the Nat Armor works for players as well if they can get nat armor like the Alchemist for example.


I just started running Rise of the Runelords as a home campaign, and had decided to use armor as DR before I knew there was a version of it published in Ultimate Combat.

A few house rules that I use along with it:

1) For every 10 above the needed "to-hit", extra damage of one extra die is done (so if hit by greater than 10 for a longsword would be 2d8, greatsword 3d6, greataxe 2d12, and if by 20 above, 3d8, 4d6 or 3d12)

2) Armor Check Penalty is a penalty to defense. So that full-plate will give DR 9, but makes it even easier to be hit! So good against lots of small damage opponents, but less so against hard-hitting ones.

3) I'm also contemplating one aspect from the Conan d20 RPG (which seems to get a lot of love above 8-) - one could "aim" to attack the unprotected areas. In that case, Armor provides AC bonus like normal. This is useful for those that can't otherwise penetrate the DR.

- I don't use the size bypasses DR rule.
- I also am using an active defense - (ie. Defense value is rolled)
- Plus, a few other house rules

One thing I was wondering about was if there are any Bestiar statblocks that are recalculated using this rules variant. I've looked around, but can't seem to find one.

The sCoreForge character sheet has a check box for this rule variant, but it doesn't seem to change the output of the statblock/charactersheet, nor does it seem to be able to output monsters from it.

Hope this helps!


The most important change I'd make if I were to implement this rule in my game would be to eliminate the notion that creatures of higher size category ignore DR. As someone said upthread, that winds up accounting for their "bigness" twice, since larger creatures tend to do more damage anyway. I think I would simply impose a flat -1 DR penalty for every size category that the attacker was greater than the defender. That way, the armour would still do some good, and the people who want Dragons' teeth to penetrate anything can be happy, too.

It doesn't bother me at all that high DRs render certain opponents incapable of damaging a well-equipped character. That's what armour is supposed to do!


I use a 123 scale with light armor = DR 1/-, med is 2, and hvy is 3. Mithril adds 1, and adamantine adds 1. 75. Dragone armor adds resist 5 vs dragon energy type, and dragon bone weapons add inherent +1 element dmg. Shields add to AC and ref only. DR from armor stacks with other DR.

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